New video footage has emerged that appears to show accused 17-year-old Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse punching a girl multiple times in the back of the head.
The video, which began circulating across social media platforms on Saturday, comes as debate rages over whether the young “Blue Lives Matter” supporter was justified for shooting and killing two people and wounding a third during unrest in the Wisconsin city on late Tuesday night.
In video that was allegedly captured on July 1 in Kenosha, a boy believed to be Rittenhouse can be seen with a group of teenage boys and girls in a parking lot before two girls begin fighting each other. While one of the boys pulls a girl away, the other boy can be seen throwing his fists at the other girl, punching her repeatedly in the head.
For the record: The recorders of two videos of this fight confirmed for me that the person in the red-white-and-blue trunks is Rittenhouse.
— Reporter Adam Rogan (@could_be_rogan) August 29, 2020
During the altercation, the man filming can be heard mockingly saying “Go, Kyle, go” before they express their shock at him sucker-punching the girl.
The video abruptly ends as those filming from the car state their intention to intervene.
In another video, bystanders can be seen jumping into the fray and attacking the teenager before he flees.
kyle rittenhouse getting jumped AFTER punching a girl pic.twitter.com/HFyyhdX2m4
— Kraze (@wannabekraze) August 29, 2020
It remains unclear how the fight began, and what role the teenager in the video played prior to the altercation.
The teenager appears to be wearing the same pair of American flag-themed crocs that Rittenhouse wore in a photo he posted to Facebook where he posed with an AR-15 rifle.
In other images uploaded to social media by his mother, Wendy Lewis, Kyle can be seen wearing the same shorts the teenager was wearing in the video clips, as well as the same baseball cap with an American flag patch that he wore around the time of the deadly shooting.
If the boy in the video is confirmed to be Rittenhouse, the video’s emergence adds further background on the teenager who saw fit to arm himself and crossed state lines in a decision that ultimately led to the Tuesday night shooting where Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26.
Police supporters and prominent figures like Tucker Carlson have sought to depict Rittenhouse as a heroic figure who was acting in self-defense against protesters. Carlson has even gone so far as to rationalize the shooting by asking on his Wednesday night show: “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
However, authorities have accused the teenager of killing two men who were attempting to disarm him and wounding a third after he began firing on protesters Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Rittenhouse was arrested at his home in Antioch, Illinois, on murder charges.
Rittenhouse claims that he went to the Kenosha protest to “protect” private businesses from unrest resulting from the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake last Sunday.
A crowd chases a suspected shooter down in Kenosha. He trips and falls, then turns with the gun and fires several times. Shots can be heard fired elsewhere as well, corroborating reports of multiple shooters tonight #Kenosha #KenoshaRiots pic.twitter.com/qqsYWmngFW
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) August 26, 2020
However, former classmates of Rittenhouse have painted a darker picture of the would-be teen vigilante.
Former classmates of Rittenhouse at Lakes Community High School told VICE News that he was troubled, short-tempered, and thin-skinned, taking easy offense at slights while relishing offending students with left-wing opinions, as he put it.
“Kyle was kind of shy from what I remember, but he was definitely in your face and pushed his views hella,” said one classmate, adding that Rittenhouse hated his Chicago school for being excessively liberal. “Like one of those kids that liked ‘triggering libtards.’”
Some students believed that Rittenhouse would one day become a mass shooter.
“I personally believe he went to Wisconsin with the intent to kill,” said one former classmate who chose to remain anonymous.
The opinion was echoed by multiple students who spoke to VICE and attested to Rittenhouse’s reputation as a lone wolf-style loose cannon who seethed with anger. One student who identified himself only as Joe said:
“[Rittenhouse] went to middle school with my little sister and she said that everyone always thought of him to be a possible future shooter … and so did I when I met him in high school.”
These are republican reactions to Kyle Rittenhouse punching a woman multiple times.. pic.twitter.com/QHX7ktHLTu
— Arlong (@ramseyboltin) August 29, 2020