A pro-gun group is fundraising for the 17-year-old accused of killing two people and wounding another in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights said in a recent statement that people can donate money for Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense.
Dudley Brown, the group’s executive director, argued that Rittenhouse was attempting to peacefully protest on Aug. 25 when he was attacked before using his gun in “lawful self-defense.”
“Kyle was doing his best to protect business owners from losing their entire livelihoods when criminal actors instigated violence against him. Unfortunately for them, Kyle was armed with an AR-15 and their rocks, skateboards, and handguns stood no chance against his wellplaced shots,” Brown said in a statement.
A similar argument was made by Lin Wood, who is representing the teen.
A criminal complaint charging Rittenhouse with a number of crimes, including first-degree homicide, described video footage captured as the scene as showing the teen being chased by Jason Rosenbaum, a 36-year-old who a witness said was trying to take the teen’s gun, before fatally shooting the man.
Rittenhouse then took off running down the street. One male punched Rittenhouse, knocking his hat off. The teen kept running but soon tripped and fell to the ground.
A male jumped at and over the teen, prompting Rittenhouse to fire two shots. A second person, later named as Anthony Huber, approached with his skateboard and appeared to try to pull the gun away, according to the complaint. Rittenhouse fired again, appearing to strike Huber.
Gaige Grosskreutz, approaching Rittenhouse, was struck.
Huber and Rosenbaum died while Grosskreutz survived with a serious injury to his arm.
Rittenhouse is in custody in Illinois but won’t be extradited to Wisconsin until at least Sept. 25.
Fundraisers for the victims remain up on GoFundMe, a popular fundraising platform that took down several pages for Rittenhouse.
A fundraiser that remained live for the suspect on GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding website, had brought in over $264,000 as of Monday.
A spokeswoman for the website told The Epoch Times via email that the site “is committed to giving both sides of the political culture in our society an equal chance to let their voices be heard” and will not remove the campaign.
Brown told The Epoch Times in an email that his group has raised over $20,000 for Rittenhouse.
Wood’s organization, the #FightBack Foundation, is also raising funds for the teen. Wood said on Twitter that he is in charge of expenditures and two signatures are required for all payments.
College Republicans United, a student group at Arizona State University (ASU), is also taking donations that will be used to pay for Rittenhouse’s legal defense. It said it will send money to Wood’s foundation.
“We do not condone the death of these individuals but take note that these are not model citizens,” the group said of the three men who were shot, adding, “Kyle Rittenhouse does not deserve to have his entire life destroyed because of the actions of violent anarchists during a lawless riot.”
In a statement over the weekend, Joe Pitts, president of the university’s College Republicans, denounced the College Republicans United, calling them a “radical, far-right extremist group masquerading as a club.”
Pitts called for the college to investigate the splinter group.
Arizona State University said in a statement to news outlets: “While there is no policy prohibiting student groups from raising funds for a cause such as this, ASU does not endorse or support this effort. ASU will be meeting with this student group to learn more about this decision.”