Rittenhouse rifle to be destroyed; judge approves agreement

A Wisconsin judge on Friday approved an agreement by lawyers to destroy the assault-style rifle that Kyle Rittenhouse used to shoot three people during a 2020 street protest.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said the state crime lab would destroy the gun, probably in April. Judge Bruce Schroeder, the Kenosha County judge who presided over Rittenhouse’s trial, approved the agreement.

Rittenhouse’s attorney had filed a motion asking prosecutors to return Rittenhouse’s rifle, his ammunition, his face mask and other clothing he was wearing the night of the shooting to him.

A spokesman for Rittenhouse said last week that Rittenhouse, who is now 19, wanted to destroy the rifle so nothing can be used as a political symbol or trophy celebrating the shootings.

Rittenhouse shot the men during the protest in Kenosha in 2020. He killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm. Rittenhouse argued he fired in self-defense after each of the men attacked him. A jury last year acquitted him of multiple charges, including homicide.

Rittenhouse's attorney, Mark Richards, filed a motion Jan. 19 asking prosecutors to return Rittenhouse's rifle, his ammunition, his face mask and other clothing he was wearing the night of the shooting to him. Richards and David Hancock, a spokesman for Rittenhouse, said last week that Rittenhouse wants to destroy the rifle and throw the rest of the items away so nothing can be used as a political symbol or trophy celebrating the shootings.

Kyle Rittenhouse defense attorney Mark Richards

Kyle Rittenhouse defense attorney Mark Richards

Conservatives across the nation have praised Rittenhouse, saying he was defending Kenosha from far-left militants. Liberals have painted him as a trigger-happy vigilante.

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The motion hearing was before Judge Bruce Schroeder, the Kenosha County judge who presided over Rittenhouse's trial.

Demonstrators took to the streets for a number of nights in Kenosha in August 2020 after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back as Blake was resisting arrest during a domestic disturbance. The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.

Jacob Blake

The protests turned chaotic at times, with people burning buildings. Rittenhouse and his friend, Dominick Black, joined a group of militia members to protect a used car lot on the night of Aug. 25.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at time and living in Antioch, Illinois, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle that Black had purchased for him earlier that year because he was too young to buy a firearm under Wisconsin law.

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According to the motion, Black had agreed that the rifle would become Rittenhouse's property on his 18th birthday, Jan. 3, 2021.

Dominick Black

Dominick Black

Bystander and surveillance video shows that just before midnight Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse down and Rittenhouse shot him as he closed in on him. He shot Huber after Huber swung a skateboard at his head and Grosskreutz after Grosskreutz ran up to him holding a pistol. Everyone involved in the shooting was white.

Black pleaded no contest to two citations earlier this month for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in exchange for prosecutors dropping two felony charges of intent to sell a dangerous weapon to a person younger than 18.

Judge Bruce Schroeder also ruled on the distribution of the $2 million bond in the case. 

A company that loaned money to Rittenhouse's original attorney John Pierce wanted it back. 

Judge Schroeder ruled the company had no rights to it. 

"It was never John Pierce’s money, it went into his trust account not his business account and these people from California come in and say without filing the document we want money. They were just trying to muck up a settlement and receive money for go away nuisance fees which weren’t going to do," said Attorney Mark Richards. 

The money will be split between Rittenhouse, the group Fight Back and actor Ricky Schroder. 

"Really glad this is over and that’s not because I am not going to see Kyle anymore, it’s because it’s been a big chunk of my life. I can close it now and move on to other things," said Richards.

His attorney says Rittenhouse is now interested in a legal career and plans on going to law school. 

The exact dollar figure given to Rittenhouse from the $2 million bond was not disclosed. 

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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