The first man shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse on the streets of Kenosha was acting “belligerently” that night but did not appear to pose a serious threat to anyone, a witness testified Friday at Rittenhouse’s murder trial.
Jason Lackowski was a former Marine and said he had taken an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle from Kenosha last summer to protect property during violent protests of racial injustice.
Lackowski, who was standing on the witness stand, demonstrated “false-stepping”. Lackowski took one small step, lurched forward and then stopped.
KYLE RITTENHOUSE TRIAL: WITNESS SAYS MAN SHOT WAS ACTING ‘BELLIGERENTLY’
However, Lackowski was called by the prosecution as a witness. He said that he thought Rosenbaum was a “babbling idiot”, and turned his face away from him. He admitted he didn’t see everything that went on between Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum, including their final clash.
In other testimony, the prosecution suffered a potential blow when Rosenbaum’s fiancee, Kariann Swart, disclosed that he was on medication for bipolar disorder and depression but didn’t fill his prescriptions because the local pharmacy was boarded up as a result of the unrest — information Rittenhouse’s lawyers could use in their bid to portray Rosenbaum as the aggressor that night.
The judge allowed the defense to elicit testimony about Rosenbaum’s mental illness because prosecutors brought up mention of medication. It is highly unlikely that the judge would have allowed the defense to bring up the subject if the prosecutors had not brought it up.
Rosenbaum had just been discharged from Milwaukee Hospital on the day that he was gunned down. The jury was told that much, but not why he had been admitted — after a suicide attempt.
Rittenhouse is 18 and charged with the shooting of three men in Kenosha, two of them fatally. He was 17, when Rittenhouse, once a police youth cadet, went to Kenosha carrying an AR-style rifle, and a kit with a doctor in an attempt to protect property during protests over the killing of Jacob Blake (a Black man) by a Kenosha officer.
KYLERITTENHOUSE TRIAL: VIDEOS AVAILABLE TO JURORS SHOWING VIOLENT UNTEST, MOMENTS CONTAINING FATAL SHOOTING
Rittenhouse and the people he shot are white. Rittenhouse is being accused by the prosecution of inciting the bloodshed. However, his lawyer argues that Rittenhouse acted in self defence, suggesting that Rittenhouse fear that his weapon will be confiscated and used against his.
On Thursday, witnesses testified that a belligerent Rosenbaum angrily threatened to kill Rittenhouse that night and that Rosenbaum was later gunned down after he chased Rittenhouse and lunged for the young man’s rifle.
A state crime lab DNA analyst testified Friday that she tested swabs from the barrel guard from Rittenhouse’s rifle and did not find DNA from Rosenbaum or the other man killed that night, Anthony Huber. Amber Rasmussen claimed that she was not given any samples from the barrel of the gun, and therefore would not be able to determine if Rosenbaum touched the barrel.
Rasmussen was subject to cross-examination from Rittenhouse attorney Corey Chirafasi. He showed him still images of Huber, Rittenhouse, and he agreed that they seemed to show Huber holding the gun. She also acknowledged that the absence of Huber’s DNA on the gun doesn’t mean he didn’t touch it.
Lackowski, a former Army infantryman Ryan Balch and Lackowski both testified about their patrolling Kenosha streets against violence protestors. They used military terminology to reflect their backgrounds.
Lackowski spoke about “areas for occupation,” and talked about how he took over his “post in a parking garage.
Lackowski said, “You shout, and then you push, but you can show your gun, and you fire.”
Balch explained that the plate carrier is body armor. He explained in detail the differences in full metal jacket bullets from hollow points, and discussed how Kenosha’s citizens who were arming themselves at night would work in pairs to provide protection for each other.
Rosenbaum (36), was not armed, and did no harm to anyone, according to witnesses. Rosenbaum, 36, threw the clear bag from a hospital that had been provided to him for his personal toiletries during Rittenhouse’s clash.
Rosenbaum’s fiancee testified that hours before he was killed, she told him not to go to downtown Kenosha because of the unrest.
“When he left, he said that he would see me in the morning and he was all excited and ‘I love you.’ It was a pleasant visit,” Swart said.
After getting a call from the medical examiner that Rosenbaum had died, Swart said, she fell to her knees and cried and then found a video online showing him dying: “I broke down and I can’t get that image out of my head.”
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Swart claimed that in the morning she visited the place at the dealership where Rosenbaum was lying on the ground following his shooting. She said, “And then I put my hands in it and found that my hand was stained with his blood.” “And that’s again when I collapsed on the ground.”
Rosenbaum’s killing has emerged as one of the most crucial moments that night because it set in motion the bloodshed that followed moments later.
Huber, 26, was shot by Rittenhouse and died as a result. Huber had been seen riding a skateboard on video of Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse wounded Gaige grosskreutz (27) who held a gun and walked towards Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse may spend the rest of his life in prison for the conviction in the case which has sparked furious debate about self-defense and vigilantism as well as the rights to bear arms and the unrest in America after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.