Accused Kenosha shooter Rittenhouse says he used stimulus money to buy gun

Accused Kenosha, Wis., shooter Kyle Rittenhouse told The Washington Post that he used stimulus money from the government to buy his gun in an interview published Thursday. 

Rittenhouse, who at 17 was too young to buy a rifle, had an adult friend purchase the AR-15 for him using stimulus money he got through an Illinois unemployment program when he was furloughed due to the pandemic.

“I got my $1,200 from the coronavirus Illinois unemployment because I was on furlough from YMCA,” he said. “And I got my first unemployment check, so I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll use this to buy it.’ ”


Family friend Dominick Black bought the gun for Rittenhouse in the spring of 2020, the Post reported, citing Rittenhouse and statements Black gave police. Wisconsin law permits minors to shoot target practice with adult supervision but prohibits them from owning the firearm or carrying it in public.

Documents obtained by the Post show Black told police that Rittenhouse kept the gun at the Kenosha home of Black’s stepfather, Scott Dickhart, who declined to comment to the Post. 

The plan was for the ownership of the gun to be transferred to Rittenhouse after the teenager turned 18, Rittenhouse told the Post. 

Rittenhouse allegedly used that gun to fatally shoot two people and wound another during Aug. 25 protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of Black man named Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse now faces charges of multiple counts of homicide and weapons offenses.

One of Rittenhouse’s sisters told the Post that her brother backed peaceful demonstrations but was against the violence and labeled rioters in Kenosha as “monsters.”

Rittenhouse told the newspaper that he didn’t regret that he had a gun with him that night.


“I feel I had to protect myself,” he said. “I would have died that night if I didn’t.”

“I was going into a place where people had guns and God forbid somebody brought a gun to me and decided to shoot me,” he said. “I wanted to be protected, which I ended up having to protect myself.”

Rittenhouse was extradited from Illinois to Wisconsin in late October and plans to plead not guilty to all charges. 

Right-wing groups have backed Rittenhouse, saying he acted in self-defense and sought to protect Kenosha and its businesses during rioting.