The teenager arrested for allegedly shooting at least one person in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this week was part of a youth police cadet program, an Illinois police department confirmed to The Epoch Times.
In a statement sent Aug. 27, Grayslake Police Chief Phillip Perlini said the suspect is a former public safety cadet.
A Facebook page and a webpage regarding the program appeared to have been taken down sometime after Kyle Rittenhouse, the suspect, was arrested on Aug. 26.
The program “offers boys and girls the opportunity to explore a career in law enforcement,” an archived version of the webpage stated. Cadets were taught different aspects of law enforcement, including traffic stops, domestic disputes, and firearms.
An archived version of the Facebook page shows a boy named Kyle dressed in what appears to be a police uniform.
Because of the suspect’s age and Illinois state law, Perlini said the police department couldn’t release any further information except to say officials are cooperating with the FBI and the Kenosha Police Department in the investigation.
Reports indicated that Rittenhouse was a cadet at the Antioch Fire Department. Inquiries sent to the department weren’t immediately returned.
Photographs posted on Rittenhouse’s social media profiles professed support for the police, including several with versions of the “thin blue line,” a symbol used by supporters of law enforcement to honor the memory of officers killed in the line of duty. He also indicated support for President Donald Trump and posed holding firearms.
The profiles are offline now.
According to a TikTok video and footage from the event, Rittenhouse attended a Trump rally on Jan. 30. In an emailed statement Aug. 27, a Trump campaign spokesman told The Epoch Times: “President Trump has repeatedly and consistently condemned all forms of violence and believes we must protect all Americans from chaos and lawlessness. This individual had nothing to do with our campaign, and we fully support our fantastic law enforcement for their swift action in this case.”
Rittenhouse appeared in court on Aug. 26 for a bond hearing and was due for another hearing Aug. 28 regarding the status of his extradition, according to court records.
When The Epoch Times asked to speak with the public defender representing him, the Lake County, Illinois, Public Defender’s Office said the information wasn’t available yet.
According to a complaint obtained by The Epoch Times, Rittenhouse was charged in Kenosha County with first-degree intentional homicide.
The teen fled across state lines “with the intent to avoid prosecution for that offense,” the document stated.
Antioch, Illinois, where he was arrested, is about 21 miles southwest of Kenosha.
Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis told reporters in an Aug. 26 briefing that he wasn’t sure what led to the shootings.
The chaotic series of events on Aug. 25 was captured on video by reporters on the ground. Rittenhouse told one reporter he was in the area to help protect businesses and assist anyone who needed medical attention. He was carrying a rifle.
Several videos showed Rittenhouse involved in a chase outside Car Source, a dealership that had been torched twice since Aug. 23, before gunshots were heard. A man wearing clothing that matched what the teen was wearing made a phone call before running away.
The teen was soon pursued by several people, including a man brandishing a skateboard and another who was holding a pistol. After Rittenhouse went to the ground, he turned and fired at the men, one of whom came into direct contact with him.
The shooting victims were identified by family and friends.