Real America’s Voice correspondent Drew Hernandez corroborated Kyle Rittenhouse’s testimony that he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum last summer.
The 18-year-old has been charged in the shooting deaths of Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following a police shooting.
“The first time I saw Kyle, he actually de-escalated the situation,” Hernandez, who was at the scene to record the violent demonstration, testified Thursday during Rittenhouse’s murder trial in Kenosha.
The reporter recounted that on the night of Aug. 25, 2020, “Antifa and the rioters were going head-to-head with the police in front of the courthouse, and as they were doing so, the police then responded. I think they, I believe they called it an unlawful assembly of some sort.”
Hernandez said the rioters were throwing rocks at police officers and launching fireworks and other explosive devices.
“As they were being pushed down the street [by the police], they passed Car Source 2. And the rioters identified individuals with longarm rifles on top of the building, and they immediately attempted to agitate them, to try to start some conflict with them saying, ‘You ain’t the police. You ain’t the police,’” he said.
“At that point Kyle Rittenhouse came out of Car Source 2 and he attempted to de-escalate the situation.”
Hernandez then recreated how Rittenhouse was motioning with his hands trying to get people to settle down.
“He clearly attempts to de-escalate the situation. And he actually is successful because then the rioters then disperse,” the reporter said.
Hernandez went on to describe the fatal shooting of Rosenbaum, who he felt had become “triggered and aggravated” in the moments leading up to it. He testified that Rosenbaum had “led the charge into the gas station” and “was getting physically aggressive.”
“Rosenbaum was charging Kyle Rittenhouse from behind,” Hernandez said.
“Kyle is right at the corner … and turns around and Rosenbaum is lunging towards him very clearly, and Kyle fires,” he said, pointing to a video display in court.
The defense attorney then asked whether Hernandez had seen Rittenhouse acting in an aggressive manner earlier that evening.
“In no way shape or form,” he answered, saying he had not seen the defendant point his firearm or threaten anyone.
Rittenhouse stood by his actions when he took the witness stand Wednesday.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,” he said.
The 18-year-old testified that people around him were saying, “Cranium him, kill him,” and he was “just trying to get to the police” where he felt he would be safe.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked Rittenhouse during cross-examination, “What was the risk to you of death or great bodily harm at the moment you killed Joseph Rosenbaum?”
He responded, “If I would have let Mr. Rosenbaum take my firearm from me, he would’ve used it and killed me with it and probably killed more people.”