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Teen cried, vomited and worried about social media as he told cops, 'I shot 2 white kids'

By Stacy St. Clair and Christy Gutowski, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO — Kyle Rittenhouse cried, vomited and worried about negative social media comments after turning himself into a far north suburban police department following the fatal shooting of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer, according to newly released documents.

Rittenhouse, 17, and his mother appeared in the lobby of the Antioch police station around 1:20 a.m. Aug. 26, just hours after prosecutors say the teenager shot three men with an AR-15-style rifle, killing two of them. Police reports show Rittenhouse repeatedly acknowledged his role in the shooting during his conversations with officers, though he insisted he had been protecting himself.

"I shot two white kids," he told police, according to documents obtained late Friday under a Freedom of Information Act request that village officials initially denied.

The records offer the first detailed accounts of what transpired in the hours after the shootings in Kenosha, a lakeside town located about 10 miles from the Illinois border. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, died from the injuries they sustained that night.

According to 17 pages of police reports, an emotional Rittenhouse told police he had been hired to protect a Kenosha business amid the unrest stemming from the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot multiple times in the back at close range days earlier. At some point during the night, Rittenhouse said, he tried stop an unnamed man from hitting windows and the man began to chase him.

The teen told officers that he had been hit in his lower neck and head with a baseball bat and a skateboard before firing his weapon, according to the police report. A filing by Kenosha prosecutors does not indicate that any of the victims were wielding a baseball bat when they were shot, though video taken that night does show Huber reaching for the rifle as a skateboard hits Rittenhouse's shoulder.

 

Antioch officers noted small scratches on the Rittenhouse's arms when he turned himself in, but he did not have any cuts or bruises, a police report states. Paramedics, however, were twice called to the police department to treat him.

"As I stayed with Kyle, I observed him exhibit several different emotions," Antioch officer Kourtney Nemec wrote in her report. "I observed Kyle to appear calm, then burst into crying fits, and then calm down again. Every once in a while, I observed Kyle to throw up. I noticed a pattern to his behavior for over an hour with him calming down, crying, calming down again and then throwing up."

The teen also had a tense exchange with his mother, Wendy, who was not convinced her son had killed anybody. Rittenhouse insisted he had "ended a man's life."

"He's dead," he said, according to a report by Sgt. Nicholas Garcia.

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