Kyle Rittenhouse, Antioch teen charged in Kenosha protest deaths, used pandemic funds to buy gun, Washington Post reports

KENOSHA, Wis -- An Illinois teenager who is charged with shooting three people, including two fatally, during a Wisconsin protest over police brutality said he used pandemic relief funds to pay for the assault-style rifle that a friend purchased for him.

WATCH: What Antioch teen said just before deadly Kenosha protest shooting


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New video shows Kyle Rittenhouse being interviewed by an independent journalist the same night he allegedly opened fire on protesters in Kenosha.



Kyle Rittenhouse spoke to The Washington Post by phone from a juvenile detention facility on the condition that the newspaper not ask about the shooting or events immediately preceding it.

"I got my $1,200 from the coronavirus Illinois unemployment because I was on furlough from YMCA," he told the Post. "And I got my first unemployment check so I was like, 'Oh, I'll use this to buy it.'"

He told the newspaper that he was carrying the gun that night to protect himself.

"God forbid somebody brought a gun to me and decided to shoot me," Rittenhouse told the Post. "Like, I like, wanted to be protected, which I ended up having to protect myself."

The Post asked Rittenhouse how he felt about having a gun that night.

"No I don't regret it," he said. "Um, I feel I had to protect myself. I would have died that night if I didn't."

Rittenhouse was 17 and couldn't legally buy the gun, so his friend, Dominick Black, bought it for him. The weapon was stored at Black's stepfather's house in Kenosha, Wisconsin, until Black and Rittenhouse each took rifles downtown on Aug. 25, according to police records.

"He spent his money but I told him it was going in my name," Black said in a new interview released by Antioch police recorded after the shootings.

Prosecutors say Black legally bought the gun in Wisconsin, but faces charges because the gun was used in an alleged crime.

DETECTIVE: "Do you know where he got the rifle?"
DOMINICK BLACK "Yeah it's mine, he got if from my dad's house."

Prosecutors say the men went to that house, retrieved the weapon from the basement and headed for Kenosha.

Late that night, police said Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz.

Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, attempted homicide, reckless homicide, recklessly endangering safety and illegal possession of a firearm. His attorneys say Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense.

Teen charged with buying rifle Kyle Rittenhouse used in Kenosha shootings
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19-year-old charged with illegally buying gun used in deadly Kenosha protest



Rosenbaum's fiancee, Kariann Swart, told the Post that Rosenbaum had been released from a psychiatric hospital earlier that day, and she told him to stay away from downtown.

RELATED: Kyle Rittenhouse extradited to Wisconsin for Kenosha protest shooting murder trial

Swart said Rosenbaum had been homeless - the couple lived in a tent for seven months before moving into a motel. In July, Rosenbaum was arrested for domestic violence and ordered to stay away from Swart. But days later, he contacted her, then overdosed and was in a hospital's intensive care unit for five days, Swart said.

When he regained consciousness, he was jailed for three weeks for violating the no-contact order, then ultimately sent to Aurora Psychiatric Hospital outside of Milwaukee. Swart told the Post he left the hospital that morning.

"He really just wanted to um, you know, stay on his medication, stay on the right path," she said.

Swart said Rosenbaum was dropped off in Kenosha and tried to get medication from a Walgreens, but it was closed. He then went to talk to Swart, who would not let him stay with her, but warned him not to go downtown due to ongoing protests after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, who was Black, seven times in the back.

Swart said she doesn't believe Rittenhouse acted in self defense, but she also said Rosenbaum shouldn't have been downtown.

"Joe, you shouldn't have been down there," she said, adding, "I go between being angry to just being sad - but mostly just sad."

Black, the 19-year-old who bought the gun for Rittenhouse, is charged in Kenosha County Circuit Court with two counts of intentionally providing a dangerous weapon to a minor, resulting in death. A court commissioner decided Thursday that there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed and Black will stand trial.

A Kenosha detective testified that Black told him during an interview about how he purchased the assault-style rifle at a Ladysmith hardware store after getting some money from Rittenhouse, the Journal Sentinel reported. Black's attorney, Robert Keller, argued for the charges to be dismissed or at least reduced to a single count, a motion Keating denied.

WLS-TV contributed to this report.
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