2:29 PM PST, November 10, 2021
Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old accused of killing two people during a Black Lives Matter protest in Wisconsin last summer, broke down on the witness stand Wednesday at his widely-watched homicide trial.
Rittenhouse appeared to loudly sob and gasp for air while testifying in his own defense.
Judge Bruce Schroede then called for a break in the trial.
“You can just relax for a minute, sir,” Schroeder said.
Watching in the courtroom, Rittenhouse’s mother started crying and was consoled as the drama unfolded.
The trial resumed 15 minutes later.
A now-composed Rittenhouse described the moment he opened fire on a protester who he says hit him with a skateboard during Kenosha protests honoring Jacob Blake, a Black man shot several times and seriously injured by a police officer.
Rittenhouse says he traveled to the Kenosha protests from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to protect businesses from vandalism. While there, he was captured on video carrying an assault-style rifle.
“He grabs my gun and I can feel it pulling away from me, and I can feel the straps starting to come off my body,” Rittenhouse said on the stand.
At that point, Rittenhouse says he “fired one shot.”
Rittenhouse, who says he acted in self defense, is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz.
His charges include first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional reckless homicide.
If convicted, Rittenhouse faces up to 65 years in prison.