Rittenhouse Evades Gun Charges in Illinois

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Despite fatally shooting two demonstrators and injuring a third in Wisconsin this August, Kyle Rittenhouse will not be charged with gun crimes in his home state of Illinois.

The white 17-year-old is currently facing six criminal counts in Wisconsin, including first-degree intentional homicide, for using an AR-15-style rifle during a protest in Kenosha. The protest that Rittenhouse attended was in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

According to Lake County, Illinois State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim’s office, “there is no evidence the gun was ever physically possessed by Kyle Rittenhouse in Illinois.”

Instead, in a statement released by the state’s attorney’s office, an investigation conducted by Antioch police “revealed the gun used in the Kenosha shooting was purchased, stored and used in Wisconsin” only.

The police investigation was conducted in Rittenhouse’s hometown of Antioch, Ill., which is situated about 15 miles southwest of Kenosha. The statement did not offer any details about who may have possessed the gun prior to its use nor where it currently resides.

During a court hearing earlier this month, Rittenhouse’s legal team submitted a court filing suggesting that he was a “patriot” and was attending the demonstrations with the intention of providing medical assistance whilst carrying a rifle for self-defense.

Rittenhouse, a supporter of the Blue Lives Matter movement, allegedly traveled to Kenosha to join militiamen who had gathered to assist state and local law enforcement in protecting property from being destroyed during the protests.

Independent of whether or not the militiamen of the Kenosha Guard are operating with extremist intent, analysts say that Rittenhouse and his fellow armed volunteers symbolize the broader threat of gun violence at protests. As such, Democrats have referred to Rittenhouse as the “embodiment of the threat posed by domestic terrorism.”

The teenager is currently be held without bond in a Lake County juvenile detention center. His extradition hearing is scheduled for October 30.

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