“That’s all I think about,” Gaige Grosskreutz, 22, advised CNN in an unique interview Tuesday. “I play it back in my head, I think about it all the time.”
The gunshots, the screams and the chaos that adopted nonetheless play out in his head as if it have been August 25 once more.
“I think about everything all the time,” Grosskreutz stated.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, is accused within the taking pictures throughout the protest that adopted. He had an affinity for police his social media makes clear. He took half in a program for youth excited by turning into law enforcement officials.
As Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, fought for his life on the hospital after being shot by an officer on August 23, protesters took to the streets.
Police and civilians confronted off the first evening and the second. But on the third evening, August 25, demonstrators and visibly armed civilians additionally confronted off.
Before the taking pictures, Rittenhouse — clutching a protracted rifle — advised a journalist who was trailing him that he was a skilled medic, in response to a legal grievance. The teenager labored half time at a YMCA earlier than being furloughed as a consequence of Covid-19.
Grosskreutz stated he labored as a paramedic earlier than going again to varsity in Wisconsin the place presently he’s finding out. Grosskreutz stated he has attended many peaceable protests in Milwaukee — which has seen greater than 100 days of protests — in opposition to police brutality and racial injustice.
But the evening he encountered Rittenhouse modified his life, Grosskreutz stated.
“I was shot point blank with a .223 round from the shooter,” Grosskreutz stated. “And I am now missing 90% of my bicep. This has not been easy emotionally, physically. I’m in constant pain, like excruciating pain that just doesn’t go away — both in my arm, in my heart.”
According to the grievance, Rittenhouse shot the first sufferer, Joseph Rosenbaum, a number of occasions after the sufferer threw a plastic bag at him and tried to seize Rittenhouse’s gun. Rittenhouse then ran away and was chased as folks appeared to attempt to cease him, video reveals. He then fired off extra rounds, killing Huber and badly injuring Grosskreutz, the grievance says
As police and emergency autos raced to the scene and movies of the deadly encounter appeared on social media, the armed suspect walked previous a gaggle of officers together with his arms raised and the rifle hanging from his chest. He turned himself in to police the subsequent day, 30 miles away in Antioch, Illinois.
Grosskreutz says he packed his medic bag — and his licensed gun
Disturbed by video of the Blake taking pictures, Grosskreutz stated he made the 40-mile journey from his residence in Milwaukee to Kenosha to attend the protests.
Grosskreutz stated he packed medical provides in a small backpack to be prepared to offer medical consideration. He additionally stated he determined to carry his licensed gun with him. He stated he was involved after seeing a name to arms on Facebook by a gaggle referred to as the Kenosha Guard, a self-styled militia group that was utilizing the social media platform to encourage armed residents to take to the streets.
“Everybody was there exercising their right to protest. And there were some people who were exercising their right to bear arms, including myself,” he stated.
Grosskreutz stated he noticed a necessity for medical help that evening and placed on a paramedic hat and stepped again from protesting to deal with those that have been injured — on both facet of the protest.
“He was down there to try to provide assistance to everybody indiscriminately,” stated Grosskreutz’ lawyer, Kimberley Motley.
Social media video captured the taking pictures because it unfolded
Social media video from reside streamers that evening captured occasions as they unfolded.
Rittenhouse is seen participating in shootings at two places. In one video, the legal grievance in opposition to him stated, Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at him and tried to disarm him and Rittenhouse fatally shot the person.
In two different movies, Rittenhouse was seen operating and other people yelling and chasing after him. Someone yelled, “He just shot someone.”
And another person replied, “Get his a**.”
Rittenhouse seems to journey and falls to the bottom. He fires his weapon as one man will get shut however misses, video reveals.
Then Anthony Huber makes use of his skateboard and hits Rittenhouse within the shoulder after which falls on him.
Huber was seen staggering away after which falling to the bottom. He died from his gunshot wound, in response to the grievance.
Grosskreutz then is seen approaching Rittenhouse and is shot within the arm at shut vary.
Grosskreutz may be seen operating away. He has a big wound and his arm is just not shifting. You also can see a gun within the hand of his injured arm. He may be heard screaming for a medic.
“I never fired my gun,” Grosskreutz stated. “I was there to help people. Not hurt people.”
Grosskreutz stated he has had run-ins with police in his previous and paid his debt. But he says he had each proper to hold his firearm.
“I’m not a felon,” he stated. “I have my concealed carry, I’ve had it for years. That was my gun. My firearm. I had a legal right to possess it and to possess it concealed.”
Motley, Grosskreutz’ lawyer, stated Rittenhouse didn’t have a proper to have his weapon. He is charged with possessing a harmful weapon beneath the age of 18.
Grosskreutz stated he by no means used his gun that evening, even after being shot.
The final affected person he tended to was himself, Grosskreutz says
Grosskreutz stated he didn’t anticipate that the final affected person he would deal with that evening could be himself.
Grosskreutz stated he used his personal medic bag and with the assistance of CJ Halliburton, who was streaming your entire incident reside however stopped to assist Grosskreutz, he was capable of have a tourniquet utilized to his arm earlier than police drove him to the hospital.
“That was a grievous wound. Had I not had my training and proper equipment … to treat a gunshot wound, I might not be here doing this interview,” Grosskreutz stated
He described a chaotic scene over the course of that evening earlier than the gunfire. Buildings had been broken and fires had been set by folks participating within the protests.
He stated police used tear gasoline and rubber bullets.
Before the taking pictures happened, video reveals police being pleasant with Rittenhouse and handing him water.
“And then they gave the shooter water at some point in time and said that they appreciated the shooter,” he stated of police, referring to a video from the scene earlier than the taking pictures occurred.
Motley stated there was blame to go round for Rittenhouse’s actions, together with regulation enforcement who did not cease him from leaving; Facebook for not taking down posts of the Kenosha Guard occasion; the one who gave Rittenhouse the gun; and anybody who helped Rittenhouse cross state strains after he shot a number of folks.
“Although (Rittenhouse) may have been the one who pulled the trigger, there certainly are a lot of people that put bullets in that gun,” Motley stated.
When requested why officers didn’t cease Rittenhouse from leaving the scene, Kenosha Sheriff David Beth advised reporters that tunnel imaginative and prescient can happen in high-stress environments like that August 25 evening.
Grosskreutz stated he and his household, together with his 65-year-old grandmother, are getting demise threats on-line from individuals who assist Rittenhouse.
“None of it is true, of what people have been saying as far as their assumptions toward me, at least,” he stated. “I’m not an Antifa terrorist organizer. I am a 22-year-old male. I go to school. And yeah, I exercise my First Amendment right to peacefully protest.”
Grosskreutz continues to be being handled by docs in the identical hospital the place Jacob Blake is being handled for his gunshot wounds.
Rittenhouse is in jail in Illinois. He has an extradition listening to on September 25 to ship him again to Wisconsin the place the fees have been introduced in opposition to him.
“The shooter walked away and got to sleep in their bed that night. Some people didn’t get that luxury — two people that night, myself (as well), didn’t get that luxury,” Grosskreutz stated.
Grosskreutz stared on the ground, tears in his eyes.
“I’m going through a tough day but like I said, I’m a strong person,” he stated. “But everybody’s hurting from this in one way or another. I walked away with my life that night but two people didn’t.”