Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Juror dismissed; shooting victim lunged toward gun, witness says

Liz Nagy Image
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Gaige Grosskreutz, the man who survived a shooting by Kyle Rittenhouse that left two others dead has filed a secret petition to change his legal name.

KENOSHA, Wis. (WLS) -- The third day of Kyle Rittenhouse's trial in Kenosha revolved largely around the testimony to the closest witness to the deadly shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum.

At the beginning of the proceedings Thursday, the judge removed one of the jurors who apparently told a joke about the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The juror apparently made the joke to a bailiff while being escorted to his car. When brought before the judge Thursday, the juror declined to explain or re-tell the joke and the judge decided to dismiss him.

"It is clear that the appearance of bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case," Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder said.

(1 of 18)

The shooting of Jacob Blake sparked several nights of protests in Kenosha during which the shootings in the Kyle Rittenhouse case took place. A wealth of video has been played in court that captured the tumultuous demonstration and the series of shootings.

Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with shooting three men, two of them fatally, starting with Joseph Rosenbaum, in the summer of 2020. The aspiring police officer, then 17, had gone to Kenosha with a rifle and a medical kit in what he said was an effort to safeguard property from damaging riots that broke out over the police shooting of a Black man.

RELATED: Kyle Rittenhouse charges explained

Prosecutors argue no one saw Rittenhouse's first fatal shots at Rosenbaum closer than conservative website Daily Caller video director Richie McGinnis.

McGinnis described watching as Rosenbaum chased down Rittenhouse in one of the most crucial and disputed moments of the night, and one that is not clearly captured on video.

"Based on Mr. Rosenbuam, the way that he was running, and then eventually lunging toward the front portion of the rifle, it was clear to me that something with the weapon was about to happen, and I didn't want to be on the wrong side of that," McGinnis said.

Prosecutors pressed him on what he meant by that.

"It wasn't clear to me whether the weapon would be grabbed, or fired, or what exactly was going to happen, but it was clear to me it was a situation that was likely that something dangerous was going to happen," he said. "Whether Rosenbaum grabbing it, Mr. Rittenhouse shooting it I didn't know, but my eyes in that moment were fixated on the barrel of the weapon because I didn't want to end up on the receiving end of that."

Prosecutors have portrayed Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed, while his lawyer has argued that he acted in self-defense after Rosenbaum tried to grab his gun and others in the crowd kicked him in the face and hit him in the head with a skateboard.

Prosecutor Thomas Binger repeatedly tried to get McGinnis - a witness called by the prosecution - to say Rosenbaum was actually falling when he was shot, as McGinnis said in a media interview days after the shooting.

But McGinnis said: "He was lunging, falling. I would use those as synonymous terms in this situation because basically, you know, he threw his momentum towards the weapon."

McGinnis wasn't sure he ever saw Rosenbaum touch the gun.

"Can't say, he was extremely close but if he did, it didn't alter trajectory," he said.

McGinnis testified that Rittenhouse "kind of dodged around" with his weapon and then leveled the gun and fired.

Videos show Rittenhouse fired four rounds at Rosenbaum, who ended up on the ground. McGinnis testified he saw the teen running away. As prosecutors played his own, extremely graphic video of the shooting and Rosenbaum's lifeless body, McGinnis appeared to contain his agony on the stand.

During cross-examination, the defense pressed repeatedly on his account of Rosenbaum grabbing for the gun.

"Your perception was, that evening as you watched it, he was going for the barrel of the gun?" defense attorney Mark Richards asked.

"Correct," McGinnis answered.

A detective testified Thursday that two and a half seconds before Kyle Rittenhouse began shooting in the streets of Kenosha, someone in the crowd fired a shot into the air.

The defense has said that that shot made Rittenhouse think he was under attack.

Video took center stage again Thursday, when Kenosha Detective Martin Howard testified that footage shows that a protester, Joshua Ziminski, had fired the first shot into the air. Howard said he used a stopwatch and timed five or six videos and determined that 2.5 seconds later, Rittenhouse began firing at Rosenbaum.

On Wednesday, Howard testified that Rittenhouse shouted "Friendly! Friendly! Friendly!" as he was being chased by Rosenbaum. Howard also agreed with defense attorney Mark Richards that Rosenbaum appeared to be gaining ground on Rittenhouse.

Richards also described how Rosenbaum had come out from behind a car to meet Rittenhouse before the shooting, saying to the detective: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but this looks like the classic ambush."

After prosecutors objected, Richards said: "Mr. Rosenbaum is in hiding as my client arrives, correct?"

"It appears so, yes," Howard responded.

Rittenhouse could get life in prison if convicted in the politically polarizing case that has stirred furious debate over self-defense, vigilantism, the right to bear arms and the racial unrest that erupted around the U.S. after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other cases like it.

Prosecutor Thomas Binger drove home the point that Rosenbaum was apparently unarmed, asking Howard if any of the videos shown in court indicated Rosenbaum had a weapon of any kind. Howard replied no.

"No gun?" Binger asked.

"I can only see a plastic bag he's carrying," Howard said.

"So no gun? Binger asked.

"No," replied Howard, who repeated the answer over and over when Binger also asked him whether Rosenbaum carried a knife, bat or club.

But Richards, on cross-examination, asked Howard what can happen if a weapon is taken from someone. "It can be used against them as a deadly and dangerous weapon, correct?" the defense attorney asked.

"Correct," Howard replied.

Moments after shooting Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse shot and killed Anthony Huber, 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin, who was seen on bystander video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard.

Rittenhouse then wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, a protester from West Allis, Wisconsin, who had a gun in his hand as he stepped toward Rittenhouse.

The Associated Press contibuted to this report