A judge ordered a recess in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial Wednesday morning after Rittenhouse began crying and choking up while testifying about the moments leading up to when he shot the three men.
Rittenhouse, 18, formerly of Antioch, said he now lives in Walworth County, Wisconsin, and is studying nursing at Arizona State University.
Rittenhouse, who took the stand around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, explained that in August 2020 he was a police cadet with the Grayslake Police Department and a firefighter-EMT cadet at the Antioch Fire Department.
He testified he cleaned graffiti off a local high school in Kenosha on August 25, 2020, and then extinguished fires later that evening.
Rittenhouse said he bought two rifle slings that day so he could provide first aid to people without putting his gun on the ground.
Mark Richards, Rittenhouse’s attorney, asked Rittenhouse if there was any “friction” between his group and protesters.
“No, the only type of stuff that happened was the person who attacked me first threatened to kill me twice,” Rittenhouse replied, clarifying that the man was Joseph Rosenbaum.
Rittenhouse testified that he had not seen Rosenbaum before that day and he did not do anything to upset Rosenbaum.
“Me and Ryan Balch were walking north at 59th and Sheridan and Mr. Rosenbaum was walking with a steel chain and he had a blue mask. He was just mad about something. Me and Mr. Balch were just asking people if they needed medical help and then he screamed, sorry for my language, ‘If I catch any of you f—ers alone I’m going to f—ing kill you,'” Rittenhouse said.
Rittenhouse then testified about a second occasion near Car Source where Rosenbaum screamed at Rittenhouse’s group, “I’m going to cut your f—ing hearts and kill you n-word.”
Rittenhouse described the moment he got separated from a man he was with and began walking to a used car lot that had been started on fire.
“I hear someone scream, ‘burn in hell,’ and I reply with ‘friendly, friendly, friendly. I’m just here to help. I don’t want any problems.'”
Rittenhouse then started crying, choking and gasping for breath as he was testifying.
Wendy Rittenhouse, Kyle’s mother, also began to cry in the courtroom gallery.
Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder ordered for a short recess to allow Rittenhouse to step down from the stand and catch his breath.