Witnesses testify shooting victim made death threats, lunged for Rittenhouse's gun

Two witnesses in the trial over Kyle Rittenhouse's fatal shooting of three men during Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha, Wis.c last year said that the first victim threatened Rittenhouse and lunged for his gun before being shot.

Though called by the prosecution, both the chief video director for the conservative news outlet The Daily Caller, Richie McGinnis and former Army infantryman Ryan Balch ended up giving testimony beneficial to the defense's self-defense claims in the case.

McGinnis, who filmed Rittenhouse shooting the men, gave testimony about Joseph Rosenbaum, who was the first person shot at an August 2020 protest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

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Two people — Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber — were both fatally shot by Rittenhouse during the protests. Gaige Grosskreutz was also shot, but was wounded.

Rosenbaum’s death was not clearly captured on video, Business Insider noted.

McGinnis was in Kenosha to film the protests sparked by Blake's death, and interviewed Rittenhouse before the shooting. 

During his testimony, McGinnis said he was behind Rosenbaum as he chased Rittenhouse into the parking lot of a car dealership. Rittenhouse stopped at what McGinnis described as a “dead end.”

McGinnis added that he saw Rittenhouse turn around toward Rosenbaum, and that the victim was "lunging" for the front portion of the rifle, which was aimed at roughly 45 degrees toward the ground.

“It was very clear to me that he was reaching specifically for the weapon, because that's where his hands went,” McGinnis said on cross-examination.

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McGinnis then physically acted out Rosenbaum moving toward the barrel of the gun. He said that Rosenbaum was in an “athletic position,” as if he were running as fast as he could.

Rosenbaum’s hands aimed below the barrel of the rifle, McGinnis said. When Rosenbaum went for the barrel, McGinnis testified, Rittenhouse “dodged around it,” leveled the weapon and fired it.

Meanwhile Balch, who walked around with Rittenhouse the night of the shooting, testified that Rosenbaum was “hyperaggressive and acting out in a violent manner." Before the shooting, Rosenbaum had attempted to set fires, Balch said.

He testified that while Balch was trying to set the fire, he had threatened Balch and another man within Rittenhouse's hearing, saying, "If I catch any of you guys alone tonight I’m going to f---ing kill you!”

Rittenhouse, now 18 years old, now faces six charges in connection with the shootings, including homicide and possession of a dangerous weapon. Also on Thursday, Kenosha Detective Martin Howard testified that a shot was fired “seconds” before Rittenhouse fired his weapon.

Balch and McGinnis did confirm upon questioning from prosecutors that on the night in question Rosenbaum was not carrying a weapon and didn't cause anyone any physical harm.