The first victim fatally shot by Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly threatened to kill him before the wannabe police officer gunned him down, a witness testified in court Thursday.
Ryan Balch, who was at the chaotic protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin with Rittenhouse last year, told prosecutors they had a dust up with Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, after spotting him allegedly trying to light a fire.
“Rosenbaum was right there in front of my face,” Balch testified on the second day of Rittenhouse’s homicide trial. “He said, ‘If I catch you guys alone tonight I’m gonna f–king kill you.’”
“He threatened me and the defendant,” Balch said.
Balch, who was part of an armed militia at the August 2020 racial injustice demonstration, said he confronted Rosenbaum and asked him to stop setting the blaze before an argument broke out.
He also testified he saw Rosenbaum earlier in the evening “acting in a violent manner,” shouting curse words and trying to light dumpsters on fire.
Rosenbaum eventually lunged at Rittenhouse and tried to take his rifle, prompting Rittenhouse to fire his gun four times at Rosenbaum, who died shortly afterward.
Richie McGinniss, a journalist who was recording video in Kenosha on the night of the shootings, also testified that Rosenbaum yelled at Rittenhouse as he advanced toward the teen and lunged for his semi-automatic rifle.
The jury will be tasked with deciding if Rittenhouse, 18, acted in self-defense or was engaged in vigilantism when he killed Rosenbaum and another man with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.