KENOSHA, Wisconsin – Two people were shot dead and another wounded in an alleged attack by an armed vigilante during a third night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of the African-American man Jacob Blake, who according to his family was paralyzed from waist down.
The alleged vigilante who would have seen on a cell phone video opening fire in the middle of the street with a rifle, was detained by authorities in Illinois, according to court documents.
The 17-year-old boy, identified as Kyle Rittenhouse, is now facing charges of willful first-degree murder. He will appear in court on Friday for an extradition hearing to Wisconsin.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that they will send federal agents and the National Guard to Kenosha “to restore law and order.”
“We will NOT support looting, arson, violence and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers, who accepted federal assistance (Portland should do the same!),” Said the President, who has not mentioned the shooting of Blake, who was shot seven times.
The shooting was reported shortly before midnight, and Sheriff David Beth said one victim was shot in the head and another in the chest, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The third victim’s injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
At least two people were killed after someone shot around midnight.
Beth told the Journal Sentinel that armed individuals had been patrolling the city’s streets in recent nights, but she did not know if the gunman was among them. “They are a militia,” Beth said. “They are like a group of vigilantes.”
Cell phone video of at least two of the shootings that was posted online shows what appears to be a man with a semiautomatic rifle trotting in the middle of a street as a crowd and some police follow him. You can hear someone in the crowd asking “What did he do?” and another person replies that the man had shot someone.
The man with the gun trips and falls, and when people approach him, he fires three or four shots from a sitting position, hitting at least two people, including one who falls and one who staggers between shouts of ” Doctor! Doctor! “
A witness, Julio Rosas, 24, said that when the gunman tripped and fell, “two people jumped on him and there was a fight for control of his rifle. At that point during the fight, he just started firing multiple rounds and that scattered people around him. “
The video, which appears to show the incident from the opposite street, captured the image of three officers yelling and pointing at the man who is presumed to be African-American as he walked in front of an SUV parked on the street.
“The rifle was being shaken in all directions as it was being fired,” Rosas said.
In cell phone footage, as the crowd disperses, the gunman stands up and continues walking down the street as police cars arrive. The man throws up his hands and walks toward the patrol cars, with someone in the crowd yelling at police that the man had just shot someone, but several of the cars pass him in the direction of people who had been shot.
At a news conference early Tuesday, Ben Crump, Blake’s family attorney, said Blake was shot multiple times by police on Sunday and it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again. He called for the officer who opened fire to be arrested and for the others involved to lose their jobs.
Blake’s shooting, apparently as three of his sons watched, was caught on cell phone video and sparked new protests of racial injustice in the United States just three months after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Blake Sr. notes that his son now has “eight holes” in his body and is paralyzed from the waist down, although doctors do not know if the paralysis will be permanent.
Kenosha police have said little about what happened, other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute. They have not said why the officers opened fire or if Blake was armed, and they have not released the race of the three officers who were at the scene.
Blake, 29, underwent surgery on Tuesday, according to Crump, who added that the bullets severed his spinal cord and destroyed his vertebrae. Another lawyer said there was also serious damage to the organs.
Blake’s father, also named Jacob Blake, told the Chicago Sun-Times that his son had eight holes in his body. At a press conference, he said police shot his son “seven times, seven times, like it didn’t matter.”
Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, told CBS “This Morning” in an interview that aired Wednesday that she feels like she was in a “bad dream” and that it felt “unreal” that her son’s name was added to Black’s list people who were shot by the police.
“Never in a million years did I think we would be here in this place. That he is alive is just a miracle in itself, ”he said.
During the latest round of riots on Tuesday, police fired tear gas for the third night in a row to disperse protesters who had gathered outside the Kenosha courthouse, where some shook a protective fence and threw bottles of water and fireworks at the officers who lined up behind him.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called 250 members of the National Guard and declared an emergency ahead of Tuesday night’s violence. The night before, crowds destroyed dozens of buildings and set more than 30 fires downtown.
“We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue,” said Evers, who faces mounting pressure from Republicans for his handling of the unrest. “Nor can we continue down this path of damage and destruction.”
Anger over the shooting has spread to the streets of other cities, including Los Angeles and Minneapolis, the epicenter of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer after Floyd’s death.