Witness says man shot by Rittenhouse was holding a loaded gun: Report

Illinois teen Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for murder after shooting three men, two fatally, amid unrest that broke out in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020 following the shooting of a Black man by local police days earlier.

Rittenhouse’s defense team has claimed the teen acted in self-defense — and in a stunning moment Friday, a witness bolstered that claim with testimony that described one of the men shot as armed with a loaded handgun, The Daily Wire reported.

That witness was U.S. Marine veteran Jason Lackowski, who, like Rittenhouse, had equipped himself with an AR-15-style rifle and medical pack and traveled to Kenosha to help protect local businesses from being damaged or looted by rioters amid riots there.

Lackowski provided testimony with respect to two of the men shot, including Gaige Grosskreutz — the man armed with a loaded handgun, who survived a devastating shot to his right arm — and Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man shot and killed by Rittenhouse, who had allegedly been acting “belligerently” toward the teen and others in the area.

Loaded and ready to fire

Insider reports that Lackowski, who was called to testify by the prosecution, said Friday that he immediately rendered first aid to Grosskreutz following the shooting and, in the process, discovered the man’s loaded weapon, which had been in his hand when he approached Rittenhouse in an apparently threatening manner.

Lackowski’s account was reportedly verified by video of the incident.

Testifying Friday, Lackowski said he first applied a tourniquet to Grosskreutz’s injured arm before noticing the handgun that Grosskreutz dropped, which Lackowski then picked up and “dropped the magazine and emptied the chamber.”

Seeking clarity on that revelation, defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked if Lackowski’s description meant that a round had been in the chamber and the handgun had been ready to be fired, to which the Marine replied in the affirmative, according to reports.

More details emerge

Lackowski also provided testimony Friday with regard to Rosenbaum, who he briefly interacted with before Rosenbaum was shot and killed by Rittenhouse, according to the Associated Press.

The Marine veteran said Rosenbaum had been acting “belligerently” toward the armed defenders of the local businesses, and though he personally dismissed the man as a non-threatening “babbling idiot,” Lackowski did note that Rosenbaum had taken provocative steps toward others, and seemed to be deliberately goading somebody into shooting him.

According to the AP, Rosenbaum had just been released from a Milwaukee hospital earlier that same day after being admitted following a failed suicide attempt.

Rosenbaum’s girlfriend, Kariann Swart, reportedly revealed to the court that her boyfriend had been prescribed medication to manage bipolar disorder, but wasn’t able to fill that prescription in the days ahead of the fatal incident. She said she’d warned him against being present amid the riots.

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