KENOSHA, Wis. - A protester and volunteer medic wounded on the streets of Kenosha by Kyle Rittenhouse testified Monday that he was pointing his own gun at the rifle-toting Rittenhouse — unintentionally, he said — when the young man shot him.
Gaige Grosskreutz, shot during a night of turbulent racial-justice protests in the summer of 2020, took the stand at Rittenhouse's murder trial and recounted how he drew his own pistol after the bloodshed started.
"I thought the defendant was an active shooter," the 27-year-old Grosskreutz said. Asked what was going through his mind as he got closer to the 17-year-old Rittenhouse, he said, "That I was going to die."
Rittenhouse shot Grosskreutz in the arm, tearing away much of his bicep — or "vaporized" it, as the witness put it.
Rittenhouse, now 18, is on trial on charges of killing two men and wounding Grosskreutz. The one-time police youth cadet from Antioch, Illinois, had gone to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and a medical kit in what he said was an effort to safeguard property from the violent demonstrations that broke out over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white Kenosha police officer.
Prosecutors have portrayed Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed. His lawyers have argued that he acted in self-defense. He could get life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges against him.
Under questioning from the prosecution, Grosskreutz said he had his hands raised as he closed in on Rittenhouse and didn’t intend to shoot the young man. Prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Grosskreutz why he didn’t shoot first.
"That’s not the kind of person that I am. That’s not why I was out there," he said. "It’s not who I am. And definitely not somebody I would want to become."
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