Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager accused of killing two people and wounding a third during protests in Kenosha, Wis., last week, thanked his supporters while on the phone with one of his lawyers Tuesday.
“I just wanna thank every single one of you from the bottom of my heart for the underlying support,” Rittenhouse via a speaker phone held by his attorney John Pierce, who tweeted video of the call. “I just want to thank all of you for the mail I’ve been receiving. It’s been really helpful.”
Pierce confirmed to Fox News that the speaker on the phone was Rittenhouse.
“I’m going to be out of here soon,” Rittenhouse added, telling his supporters to “stay strong.”
The 17-year-old faces a slew of criminal charges stemming from the Aug. 28 shooting, just two days after Jacob Blake was shot multiple times by a Kenosha police officer. Rittenhouse faces several felony charges, including one count each of first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Investigators said Rittenhouse was armed with a Smith & Wesson AR-15-style rifle when he and others reportedly went to protect Kenosha businesses from being vandalized.
An autopsy revealed one victim, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, was shot five times — in the right groin, back, left hand, left thigh and right side of his forehead. Anthony Huber, 29, was shot in the chest before he died.
A third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, was wounded in one of his arms.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys have repeatedly claimed the teen was being attacked by protesters and acted in self-defense. Investigators have not said much publicly about the case or the events leading up to the shooting.
“If this is not self-defense for Kyle Rittenhouse under the circumstances, then no one can protect themselves, no one can protect their family and no one can protect their country,” Pierce says in the video, while noting self-defense is a “God-given right.”
“We are not going to allow a prosecutor in Kenosha, Wis., to take it away from Kyle,” he continues.
In a message to Fox News, Pierce compared the teen to the unknown shooter who fired the “shot heard round the world” on April 19, 1775, in Lexington, Mass., as British and American forces squared off. The incident ignited the American Revolution.
Rittenhouse was being held in Illinois, where he was arrested hours after the shooting deaths, pending extradition to Wisconsin. He has been hailed in conservation circles as a hero, with President Trump appearing to defend him Monday.
Critics have blasted the Kenosha police, saying some officers seemed to treat Rittenhouse and others who were armed in a friendly way, while treating protesters in a more heavy-handed way.