Kyle Rittenhouse told Wisconsin jurors Wednesday he had no choice but to fatally shoot two men and seriously wound a third, saying he was stopping “the person who was attacking me.”
Testifying in his own defense, Rittenhouse said he was protecting private property in Kenosha and providing first aid on Aug. 25, 2020, when his fatal confrontations with Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, unfolded.
Rittenhouse, facing two counts of homicide, described Rosenbaum as “the person who attacked me first and threatened to kill me twice.”
He added that Rosenbaum used the f-word multiple times in verbally confronting him.
“He screamed, ‘If I catch any of you f—ers alone, I’m going to f—— kill you,” Rittenhouse quoted the victim as saying. “He said, ‘I’m going to cut your f—— hearts out.’ ”
As defense lawyer Mark Richards was directing him to describe the moments immediately before he opened fire on Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse began sobbing uncontrollably, prompting Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder to call for a recess.
Rittenhouse went on to explain that Huber attacked him with a skateboard and pulled his gun away, prompting him to pull the trigger.
“Mr. Huber runs up … he strikes me in the neck with his skateboard a second time,” Rittenhouse testified. “I can feel the strap coming off my body. I fired one shot.”
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger challenged Rittenhouse’s right to gun down the two victims that night. He repeatedly asked him if he intended to kill anyone.
“I didn’t intend to kill them. I intended to stop the people who were attacking me,” Rittenhouse said. “I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me.”
Before he began testifying, Schroeder asked the 18-year-old defendant a series of questions and reminded him of his constitutional right not to testify.
Rittenhouse answered in the affirmative, saying he understood the risks of taking the stand in his own defense.
The defendant said he is currently studying nursing at Arizona State University.
This is a developing story. Please refresh here for updates.
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.