VERNON HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- The mother of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old from Illinois who fatally shot two people during violent protests in Kenosha, defended her son in her first on-camera interview Wednesday.
Kyle Rittenhouse is charged with first degree intentional homicide, which carries a life prison sentence. Authorities say the Antioch teen shot three protestors with an AR-15 style rifle, killing two of them, during violent protests in Kenosha.
In a sit-down interview, Wendy Rittenhouse said she believes her son was in Kenosha to help protect businesses - and ended up protecting himself.
"They need to watch the video," Wendy Rittenhouse said. "He's not a monster."
The shootings happened in August during the unrest that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police.
The single mother of three said her son went to Kenosha that day to help clean up. She checked in with him just moments before police say Kyle opened fire.
"The last text I sent Kyle was, 'Where are you at? Are you okay?' He said, 'Yes, I am okay. Doing medic.' That was at like 11:30 and then I fell asleep," his mother said. "Then I jolted out of my sleep and knew something was wrong. I knew I had to go find him"
Rittenhouse's lawyers claim he was acting in self-defense because they believe he was under attack.
"If he didn't have that gun, he would have been dead," Wendy Rittenhouse said. "Point-blank. It was all self-defense. I saw it. If I wasn't his mother, I would have said the same thing - it was self-defense. He was chased by a bunch of mob."
Video taken the night of the shootings shows Rittenhouse walking around Kenosha armed with the rifle. Another video shows Rittenhouse running away from a group of people after prosecutors say he had already shot and killed someone. That video clip shows Rittenhouse falling down - before firing again.
Wendy Rittenhouse said her son was not there to hurt anyone.
"People need just to watch a video. And they need to go step by step on it," Wendy Rittenhouse said. "He didn't, he didn't do nothing wrong. He was attacked by a mob. The first guy to the second and to the third guy."
Family members say Kyle wanted to be a police officer, carrying around a medic kit with him wherever he went.
"He had Blue Lives Matter shirts and he respected them. He respected the cops," Wendy Rittenhouse said.
Wendy Rittenhouse pushed blame on city and state leaders, who she says let the situation get out of control.
Rittenhouse was being held at a juvenile detention center in Vernon Hills, but was extradited back to Wisconsin.
To get out of jail, Rittenhouse will have to post $2 million cash. His legal team said they plan to post that bond very soon.