Kyle Rittenhouse – the Illinois teenager who fatally shot two demonstrators at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the police shooting of Jacob Blake – pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to felony charges including intentional homicide.
Rittenhouse, who just turned 18 on Sunday, entered the plea during a brief video hearing.
Rittenhouse is accused of leaving his home in Antioch, Illinois, before traveling to Kenosha to team up with a group of armed adult volunteers who were in the city to allegedly protect private property from demonstrators protesting the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man who was shot seven times in the back and left paralyzed.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the killings, is charged with five felonies: first degree intentional homicide in the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36; first degree reckless homicide of Anthony Huber, 26, attempted first degree intentional homicide of Gaige Grosskreutz, 22, as well as two counts of recklessly endangering safety, for shots fired at others.
He also faces charges of being a minor in possession of a firearm, a misdemeanor, and with violating a curfew in effect on Aug. 25, a civil citation.
Rittenhouse was armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle, and allegedly killed Rosenbaum after he threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse – and missed – before coming towards him and attempting to wrestle away the rifle.
In video captured of the aftermath of the deadly altercation, various protesters can be heard shouting “get him” and “beat him up” after Rittenhouse fatally shot Rosenbaum. When Rittenhouse tried to flee down the street, he tripped and fell to the ground. Huber then struck him with his skateboard and attempted to take the rifle. Rittenhouse then opened fire, killing Huber and injuring Grosskreutz, who was armed with a handgun.
Rittenhouse turned himself in at a local police station in Antioch the morning after the shootings, where he apparently admitted to shooting protesters, according to records from the Antioch Police Department. He was with his mother when he walked into the police station before 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 26.
“I shot two white kids,” Rittenhouse reportedly admitted, adding that he had “ended a man’s life.”
Rittenhouse’s attorneys claim that their client feared death or bodily harm and acted in self-defense when he fired on demonstrators. They also claim that the charges are politically motivated and that the extradition violates the accused killer’s constitutional rights.
Conservatives and far-right figures have also sought to depict Rittenhouse as a patriot and heroic figure who took up arms to protect people and property from protesters for racial justice and against police brutality, and have raised enough money for the teenager to make his $2 million bail.
Others see Rittenhouse as a domestic terrorist and right-wing vigilante who arrived in Kenosha with the intent to incite, or even kill, protesters.
The Kenosha killings came three months after the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody, when the 46-year-old Black man was being restrained by police officers in Minneapolis in striking footage that was captured by bystanders and galvanized a massive wave of outrage and protests across the United States and worldwide.
The killing of Floyd, as well as other police-committed killings of Black people, galvanized a rapid upsurge in activism by communities opposed to systemic racism and police impunity who united under the banner of the Black Live Matter movement.
The protest movement, which was accompanied by scenes of widespread unrest in major metropolitan centers across the country unseen since the Civil Rights era, quickly became a fault line in U.S. politics. President Donald Trump blasted protesters as “terrorists” and aggressively pursued a hard-nosed message stressing the need to restore order in an unsuccessful bid to capitalize on the unrest to press his case for reelection in Wisconsin and other battleground states.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.