A gun-rights group has raised $50,000 for an Illinois teenager who allegedly shot three people, two fatally, during a protest that erupted last month in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights (NFGR) made the announcement in a press release Thursday, saying over 1,000 people donated to 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who is currently being held without bail at an Illinois jail following the Aug. 25 shooting.
The group said last month they launched a fundraiser to raise the money for the teen’s legal fees. Now finalized, the money will be sent as a check into Rittenhouse’s trust fund administered by one of his attorneys, according to the release.
“I spoke with Kyle’s mother this morning to let her know NFGR received over a thousand donations amounting to over $50,000 from folks who support her son,” Executive Director of the NFGR, Dudley Brown said, adding that the teen’s mother expressed her sincere thanks.
“No words can describe what we’re going through. Thank you so much—and I know Kyle and the rest of the family would say thank you too,” his mother said.
Prosecutors in Kenosha County have charged Rittenhouse as an adult with six counts, including one count of first-degree reckless homicide and one count of first-degree homicide.
The teen’s lawyer has said that his client acted within his rights in self-defense. The gun-rights group also wrote in the release he defended “himself and business owners from violent rioters.”
“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 separate statement.
“We want Kyle to have the best defense possible,” he said. “If he were getting a fair shake from prosecutors, he would be home with his family right now instead of spending weeks in a jail without bail.”
Rittenhouse was seen in a video running down a street when a man punched him, knocking his hat off. After the altercation, he continued to run before tripping and falling 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.
The gun-rights group said they support Rittenhouse as he “acted legally and defended himself from a dangerous group of armed thugs whose clear intent was to cause permanent harm.”
“The left is doing everything in their power to portray a 17-year-old kid as the villain,” Brown said.
“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.”
Rittenhouse is in custody in Illinois and won’t be extradited to Wisconsin until at least Sept. 25.
Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.