One of the men shot by Kyle Rittenhouse in Wisconsin was an “idiot,” but not a threat, testified a witness who, like Rittenhouse, had also showed up to that night’s protest packing an AR-15-style rifle.
Former Marine Jason Lackowski was with Rittenhouse during the August night last year shortly before Rittenhouse, then 17, fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the police shooting of Black resident Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse later fatally shot a second man and injured a third, and is now standing trial for intentional homicide and related charges.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys have claimed that he fired his semiautomatic rifle at Rosenbaum, who was unarmed, because he felt threatened.
Lackowski said Rosenbaum was acting “very belligerently,” but he didn’t believe he posed a threat, CNN reported.
Rosenbaum asked Lackowski “very bluntly to shoot him” and did “false stepping … to entice somebody to do something,” Lackowski testified.
“After he had done that a few times I turned my back to him and ignored him,” Lackowski added.
Asked if he considered Rosenbaum a threat, Lackowski responded: “No.” He called Rosenbaum a “babbling idiot.”
Rosenbaum had been struggling with homelessness and mental illness at the time he was killed, The Washington Post reported last year.
At one point, Lackowski testified, he ran toward the sound of gunfire and encountered Rittenhouse — who appeared “frazzled, in shock” and was still armed — running away.
The prosecutor noted that Lackowski never used his gun that night.
“There was no need for it,” he said.
Rittenhouse has claimed he was on the streets of Kenosha that night to guard the car dealership Car Source from vandals during the demonstrations, along with other armed men. But both brothers operating the family business testified Friday that they didn’t ask anyone to guard the property.