Opinions and Legal Insights

17-Year-Old Charged With Murder in Kenosha

A 17-year-old was charged with homicide after two people were killed and another seriously wounded by gunfire during overnight protests in Kenosha, Wi., over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the Washington Post reports. The burst of violence amid the arrival of self-declared militia members and counterprotesters followed days of tension here since police shot Blake on Sunday. That shooting set off sometimes damaging protests here and reverberated across the U.S. Police in Antioch, Il., 20 miles west of Kenosha, said they had arrested 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse and described him as a suspect in the incident. They said Rittenhouse, an Antioch resident, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in Wisconsin, but they did not specify whether he was being charged in one fatal shooting or both.

A police complaint filed in Lake County, Ill., by the Antioch police described him as a fugitive, saying that fled Wisconsin with the intent to avoid prosecution. The Tuesday shooting followed a confrontation between protesters and armed men in Kenosha who said they were protecting a gas station, according to witnesses. Self-declared militia members had arrived in town before the gunfire, though Sheriff David Beth said he did not know for sure whether the 17-year-old suspect was part of such a group. Much of Rittenhouse’s Facebook page is devoted to praising law enforcement, with references to Blue Lives Matter, a movement that supports police. He can be seen holding an assault rifle. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers authorized the deployment of 500 members of the National Guard to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops, reports the Associated Press. Protesters were out Wednesday night after a 7 p.m. curfew.