Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen facing homicide charges for the deaths of two people fatally shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, acquired his gun using coronavirus stimulus money, he said in an interview published Thursday.
Mr. Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, told The Washington Post that he used the stimulus money to have a friend buy for him the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used in the shootings.
“I got my $1,200 from the coronavirus Illinois unemployment ‘cause 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.’”
Mr. Rittenhouse spoke by phone from a juvenile detention center, where the teen has been jailed since shortly after the shootings took place in Kenosha on the night of Aug. 25, The Post reported.
He faces homicide charges and other counts stemming from the shootings, which killed two people and injured a third. His lawyers said he acted in self-defense and will be acquitted.
Mr. Rittenhouse is not old enough under Illinois state law to legally purchase a gun or carry it in public. His friend, Dominick Black, faces two felony charges for allegedly supplying it.
SEE ALSO: Jury finds Rittenhouse not guilty in Kenosha shootings
Citing interviews and court documents, The Post reported the gun was kept Mr. Black’s stepfather’s home before the shootings and that Mr. Rittenhouse said he planned to transfer ownership next year.
Kenosha was experiencing protests and riots on the night before the shootings, and Mr. Rittenhouse‘s lawyers said he was there armed the following night to protect local businesses from the unrest.
“I wanted to be protected, which I ended up having to protect myself,” Mr. Rittenhouse told The Post.
“No, I don’t regret it,” he said about having the gun with him on the night of the shootings.
“I feel I had to protect myself. I would have died that night if I didn’t,” Mr. Rittenhouse added.
Mr. Black’s preliminary hearing regarding the gun charges is currently set for next month.