The protester and medic who was wounded by Kyle Rittenhouse during the unrest on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, testified Monday that he was pointing his own gun at Rittenhouse when the young man shot him.
Gaige Grosskreutz was called to the stand Monday as the prosecution’s 16th witness in the murder trial of Rittenhouse, 18, who faces up to life in prison if convicted. Grosskreutz, the third and final man who was shot by Rittenhouse during a night of destructive protests in August 2020, recounted how he drew his own pistol after the bloodshed started.
Under questioning from the prosecution, Grosskreutz said he had his hands raised as he closed in on Rittenhouse and didn't intend to shoot the young man. Prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Grosskreutz why he didn’t shoot first.
"That’s not the kind of person that I am. That’s not why I was out there," he said. "It’s not who I am. And definitely not somebody I would want to become."
But his testimony unraveled under questioning from the defense. During cross-examination, Rittenhouse defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked: "It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him … that he fired, right?"
"Correct," Grosskreutz replied. The defense also presented a photo showing Grosskreutz pointing the gun at Rittenhouse, who was on the ground with his rifle pointed up at Grosskreutz.
Grosskreutz, under follow-up questioning from the prosecutor, said he did not intend to point his weapon at Rittenhouse.
During his testimony, 27-year-old Grosskreutz explained how he thought Rittenhouse "was an active shooter." Asked what was going through his mind as he got closer to the 17-year-old Rittenhouse, he said, "That I was going to die."
Prosecutors showed graphic images and videos of the injuries that Grosskreutz had suffered when the bullet tore away a large portion of his bicep.
A deputy could be seen pacing the aisles during the day's proceedings.
Rittenhouse is on trial for fatally shooting two men and wounding a third. He and at least one friend said they traveled to the Wisconsin city to protect local businesses and provide medical aid after two nights of businesses being looted and set on fire.
Rittenhouse was 17 at the time and brought a medical kit and an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle, the latter of which had been supplied to him by a friend and was later used in the shootings. He is charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, recklessly endangering safety and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
Prosecutors have portrayed Rittenhouse as the instigator of the violence. His lawyers have argued that he acted in self-defense.
Wisconsin’s self-defense law allows someone to use deadly force only if "necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm." The jury must decide whether Rittenhouse believed he was in such peril at the time and whether that belief was reasonable under the circumstances.
Grosskreutz said he had gone to the protest in Kenosha to serve as a volunteer medic, wearing a hat that said "paramedic" and carrying medical supplies, in addition to a loaded pistol. He said his permit to carry a concealed weapon had expired and he did not have a valid one that night.
He said he went into action after seeing Rittenhouse kill a man just feet away — the second person Rittenhouse fatally shot that night.
While Grosskreutz said he never verbally threatened Rittenhouse, Chirafisi, the defense attorney, said that people don’t have to use words to threaten others. They can do so by their actions, "like running after them down the street with a loaded firearm," Chirafisi said.
On cross-examination, Chirafisi sought to portray Grosskreutz as dishonest in his description of the moments right before he was shot, with Chirafisi asserting that Grosskreutz was chasing Rittenhouse with his gun out. Grosskreutz denied he was chasing Rittenhouse.
Chirafisi said Grosskreutz lied when he initially told multiple police officers that he dropped his weapon.
He also pointed to Grosskreutz’s lawsuit against the city of Kenosha, in which he alleges police enabled the violence by allowing an armed militia to have the run of the streets during the demonstration.
"If Mr. Rittenhouse is convicted, your chance of getting 10 million bucks is better, right?" Chirafisi said.
Chirafisi asked Grosskreutz if he told his former roommate that his only regret was "not killing the kid and hesitating to pull the gun before emptying the entire mag into him." Grosskreutz said: "No, I never said that."
At the defense table, Rittenhouse kept his eyes on Grosskreutz as he testified, taking detailed notes when the witness spoke about the moment he was shot.
Last week at Rittenhouse's trial, witnesses testified that the first man shot and killed, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, was "hyperaggressive" and "acting belligerently" that night and threatened to kill Rittenhouse at one point.
One witness said Rosenbaum was gunned down after he chased Rittenhouse and lunged for the young man's rifle.
Rosenbaum’s killing set in motion the bloodshed that followed moments later, with Rittenhouse fatally shooting Anthony Huber, a 26-year-old protester seen on bystander video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard. Rittenhouse then wounded Grosskreutz.
The prosecution is expected to rest its case on Tuesday, at which point Rittenhouse defense team will begin calling its own witnesses.
Fox News' Jiovanni Lieggi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.