Less than two hours after a shooting left two people dead and a third wounded during unrest in Kenosha, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse walked into the Antioch, Illinois, police station “visibly upset” and told an officer he had “ended a man’s life,” according to records released late Friday.
The teen went to his hometown police station with his mother shortly before 1:30 a.m. Aug. 26 and turned himself in. He did not have any weapons with him.
The assault-style rifle used in the shooting was purchased by an 18-year-old friend of Rittenhouse, and police found it in the trunk of the friend’s car later that morning. Neither Rittenhouse nor his mother had a permit for a gun in Illinois.
Rittenhouse has since been charged with two counts of homicide and four other charges in connection with the Kenosha protest shootings that killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, 26.
Rittenhouse’s legal team has said he acted in self-defense and should not be charged with any crime.
On Friday, an Illinois judge denied the teen’s request for release and ordered him extradited to Wisconsin to face the homicide charges. Rittenhouse had been in custody in an Illinois juvenile facility since turning himself in.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel went to court to ask a judge to order the release of records about Rittenhouse’s arrest after Antioch police denied a public records request for the information. Earlier this week, a judge ordered Antioch to produce the records.
The reports provide new details about how his arrest unfolded and what Rittenhouse said happened that night.
According to the records:
Rittenhouse told officers he had been hired to protect a business in Kenosha and had to protect himself. The owner of the business, Car Source, has told the Journal Sentinel that he did not hire anyone to act as armed security.
The teen told Antioch police he had tried to turn himself into an officer in Kenosha but was told to go home.
Police requested firefighters come to the station for a medical check of Rittenhouse, who had small scratches on his arm but no bruising or cuts.
While waiting for medical help, Rittenhouse stated: “I shot two white kids.”
As firefighters tended to Rittenhouse, the teen told police he had been hit in the head with a baseball bat, a skateboard and hit in the neck before firing his weapon.
Video captured Rittenhouse being hit with a skateboard, but no footage has emerged related to a baseball bat, and it was not mentioned in a video released by his defense team.
An Antioch officer watched Rittenhouse as they waited for Kenosha detectives to arrive and noted the teen cycled through a range of emotions, from crying fits to periods of calm to throwing up.
Hours later, Rittenhouse began having trouble breathing so police called firefighters again. Soon after that, Rittenhouse was booked as a fugitive from justice on the Kenosha warrant for first-degree intentional homicide and was taken to a juvenile detention center.
‘You are not supposed to have that gun’
Illinois prosecutors issued a news release earlier this month that said the AR-15 used in the shooting was purchased, stored and used in Wisconsin, and Rittenhouse never possessed it in Illinois.
It offered few other details. The records released Friday help fill in the blanks.
Rittenhouse told Antioch police his 18-year-old friend had the rifle in the trunk of his car. The Journal Sentinel is not identifying the man because he has not been charged with any crime.
Antioch police met the man at Rittenhouse’s apartment and he confirmed the rifle was in the trunk. The man was with Rittenhouse’s two sisters who said they feared for their safety after receiving messages from people about the shooting.
The man told an officer he had been with Rittenhouse in Kenosha. He was armed with a gun on the roof of a business and did not see the shooting.
Rittenhouse called his friend at some point after the shooting.
The man said he disassembled his own gun to put in his backpack, picked up Rittenhouse and then put both rifles in the trunk where police later found them.
In a police interview, the friend said Rittenhouse gave him money to buy the rifle at an Ace Hardware in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, and it was to be used only while hunting up north at the friend’s family’s property. In the meantime, it was stored at the friend’s stepfather’s house in Kenosha.
Gun trace records confirmed the man had purchased both rifles at stores in Wisconsin.
Antioch police interviewed the man’s stepfather, who said when he had learned about the gun purchased for Rittenhouse, he refused to allow the rifle to be kept anywhere other than his locked safe in Kenosha because he knew Rittenhouse was only 17.
But he decided to move the gun from the safe in the garage to his house after unrest stemming from the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake.
On Aug. 25, he went to work as usual and got a call from his son asking to borrow sandpaper to help remove graffiti in downtown Kenosha. During that conversation, his son mentioned the job guarding a business. He replied that they should not go through with it.
He did not realize the rifle was gone until Wednesday afternoon, hours after the fatal protest shooting, when he was preparing to leave Kenosha for the rest of the week because of the unrest.
Rittenhouse did not use the rifle in Illinois and the firearms crossed state lines in a manner “not immediately accessible” to either Rittenhouse or his friend, the reports say.
The friend expected to be in more trouble than Rittenhouse, who he said was defending himself, and recalled telling Rittenhouse: “In all reality, you are not supposed to have that gun. That gun was in my name.”
Antioch police turned over their reports to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office for review. Prosecutors there declined to issue any charges related to the case. So far, federal prosecutors have not filed any firearm-related charges, either.
Rittenhouse faces one misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 in Wisconsin.