UPDATE: Attorney named for teen accused in Kenosha protest killings

A defense attorney was named Friday morning in the case of the Illinois teen accused of in the killings in the wake of racial justice protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

John Pierce, according to Fox6, is the defense attorney of record for Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, who was charged Thursday in the fatal shooting of two protesters and the wounding of a third in Kenosha, during a night of unrest following the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Prominent Atlanta attorney Lin Wood has been involved in arranging Rittenhouse’s legal defense.

A legal team from the #FightBack Foundation said it will be part of Rittenhouse’s defense team. The foundation, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, was incorporated in Texas effective Aug. 12.

Also on Friday, a judge agreed to delay for a month a decision on whether Rittenhouse should be returned to Wisconsin to face the charges.

Rittenhouse faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of first-degree reckless homicide, one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. He would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, the most serious crime in Wisconsin.

The shootings late Tuesday — largely caught on cellphone video and posted online — and the shooting by police Sunday of Blake, a 29-year-old Black father of six who was left paralyzed from the waist down, made Kenosha the latest focal point in protests that have gripped the country since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

The two men killed were Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, Wisconsin.

A third man was injured. Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis, about 30 miles from Kenosha is recovering after surgery, said Bethany Crevensten, another activist.

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Rosenbaum was shot and killed first, after following Rittenhouse into a used car lot, where he threw a plastic bag at the gunman and attempted to take the weapon from him, according to a criminal complaint released by prosecutors Thursday. The medical examiner found that Rosenbaum was shot in the groin and back — which fractured his pelvis and perforated his right lung and liver — and his left hand. He also suffered a superficial wound to his left thigh and a graze wound to his forehead.

Rittenouse then allegedly ran down the street and was chased by several people shouting that he just shot someone before he tripped and fell, according to the complaint and cellphone footage. Huber, who was carrying a skateboard, was shot in the chest after apparently trying to wrest the gun from Rittenhouse, the complaint said.

Grosskreutz, who appeared to be holding a gun, then was shot in the left arm after approaching Rittenhouse, the complaint said.

“From my standpoint, it’s important that the message be clear to other Americans who are attacked that there will be legal resources available in the event false charges are brought against them,” Wood said. “Americans should never be deterred from exercising their right of self-defense.”

Kenosha police faced questions about their interactions with the gunman on Tuesday night. According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air, as members of the crowd yelled for him to be arrested because he had shot people.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth explained that the gunman likely slipped away because the scene was chaotic, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running — conditions he said can cause “tunnel vision” among law officers.

Video taken before the shooting shows police tossing bottled water from an armored vehicle and thanking civilians armed with long guns walking the streets. One of them appears to be the gunman.

Rittenhouse was taken into custody Wednesday in Illinois. He was assigned a public defender in Illinois for a hearing Friday on his transfer to Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin law, anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.

Kenosha’s streets were calm Thursday following a night of peaceful protests and no widespread unrest for the first time since Blake’s shooting. During demonstrations the previous two nights, dozens of fires were set and businesses were ransacked and destroyed.

Kenosha police arrested nine people for disorderly conduct on Wednesday evening after they filled gas cans at a city gas station, the department said Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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