Kenosha shooting: One officer fired all seven shots into Jacob Blake’s back; Teen arrested in killing of protesters
One police officer fired all seven shots that hit Jacob Blake in the back, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday. They also named the officer and said the results of their investigation will be turned over to a prosecutor.
The description of the shooting by the Wisconsin Department of Justice is the first official accounting of what happened in the Sunday shooting in Kenosha that has since spawned nightly protests and public outrage.
Authorities identified the officer as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department. Sheskey fired his weapon seven times into Blake’s back as Blake leaned into his car. No other officer at the scene fired a weapon.
Blake was also tased, according to DOJ.
The account said Blake told officers he had a knife in his possession, although it is unclear whether Sheskey knew of the knife when he pulled the trigger of his gun.
Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations officers found a knife in the driver-side floorboard of Blake’s car and no other weapons were recovered, according to Wisconsin officials. The department’s statement does not say if Blake threatened the officer with the knife.
Earlier in the day, a 17-year-old suspected of fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during Tuesday’s protests in Kenosha was arrested on a homicide charge.
Court records show Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, faces a first-degree intentional homicide charge in Kenosha County. He is now jailed in Lake County, Illinois, and has been charged there as a fugitive from justice. He will appear for extradition hearing on Friday.
Authorities did not release the victims» names but said the two killed were a 26-year-old man from Kenosha County and a 36-year-old Kenosha man.
Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, was shot in the arm and is expected to survive. Grosskreutz was in Kenosha with the social justice reform group the People’s Revolution Movement of Milwaukee.
Based on Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse would be charged as an adult.
For three nights, violent protests have torn through Kenosha. Buildings have been burned, windows smashed out and stores looted.
Anger over the shooting has spilled into the streets of other cities, including Los Angeles and Minneapolis, the epicenter of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer following George Floyd’s death.
Wednesday evening, protests had historic implications for the sports world as NBA playoff games were postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t take the floor for Wednesday’s playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Standing in solidarity with the Bucks, Major League Baseball’s Brewers decided not to play Wednesday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. Several Major League Soccer matches were postponed, too.
DOJ releases its timeline of events
According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Kenosha Police Department was called out to a residence «after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.»
Officers tried to arrest Blake, deploying a Taser, which was unsuccessful in stopping Blake. Blake » walked around his vehicle, opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward.»
«While holding onto Mr. Blake’s shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon 7 times,» DOJ said in a statement. «Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back. No other officer fired their weapon. Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, therefore the officers were not wearing body cameras.»
DOJ said during the investigation following the initial incident, Blake told officers he had a knife. The knife was found in the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s car and no other weapons were found.
«When DCI is the lead investigating agency of a shooting involving a law enforcement officer, DCI aims to provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days,» DOJ said in a statement.
«The prosecutor then reviews the report and makes a determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate. If the prosecutor determines there is no basis for prosecution of the law enforcement officer, DCI will thereafter make the report available to the public.»
It was previously announced the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.
What is expected to happen Wednesday night?
Anticipating continuing unrest, local authorities said a curfew will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday — earlier than the previous night’s curfew. The new nightly curfew is effective through Sunday.
At a press conference Wednesday, local officials expressed support for peaceful protests. Beth said law enforcement will be “very assertive” with enforcing the curfew and that they would be arresting violators.
That comes as President Donald Trump promised increased federal involvement and decried «looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness.»
FBI agents and U.S. Marshals will be deployed in response to the city’s unrest, U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec tweeted. The White House authorized sending 2,000 National Guard troops from other states to Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has also doubled the number of Wisconsin National Guard service members deploying to Kenosha to 500. U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec announced more than 200 federal agents have been deployed to Kenosha.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, accused Trump of “making matters worse” in Kenosha and elsewhere by encouraging vigilantes. «What we saw in Kenosha breaks your heart; it does pierce the soul, as was said,” Pelosi said when asked about the unrest.
What happened in Tuesday night’s shooting?
Tuesday’s shooting happened at about 11:45 p.m., Kenosha police said. Many people were still on the streets in protest just before the shooting, walking up and down Sheridan Road, where protesters had been driven after being expelled from Civic Center Park.
Authorities did not release the victims» names but at a press conference Wednesday afternoon said the two killed were a 26-year-old man from Silver Lake and a 36-year-old Kenosha man. A 26-year-old West Allis man was wounded.
Earlier Wednesday, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that one victim had been shot in the head and another in the chest late Tuesday, just before midnight. Beth didn’t know where the other person was shot, but video posted on social media showed someone had been shot in the arm.
Although police have provided few details about what occurred, there are dozens of videos posted to social media that appear to portray the incident. Those videos show a male opening fire in the middle of the street with a semi-automatic rifle and a person being shot in a car lot.
In the car lot incident, a young white man is being pursued by someone who tosses an object. Soon, shots ring out, and the pursuer drops.
Several other videos show what seems to be the same person being chased by a handful of people in a street. Someone asks, «What he’d do?» and someone yells, «Hey, he shot him!»
The male with the gun trips and falls onto his back. A few people begin to run at him. Amid a scuffle, shots ring out after someone attempts to grabs the shooter’s gun.
That person crumples to the pavement a few feet away and lies still. Another person rushes at the shooter, who appears to strike that person in the arm with another shot.
Then, police appear to allow the young man responsible for the shootings — still carrying a gun — to walk past them, while people in the crowd yell for him to be arrested.
Beth blamed a chaotic, high-stress scene for that inaction. He said those conditions can cause “tunnel vision” among law officers.
Social media videos: Much of Kenosha’s deadly protest shooting was captured on video
Alleged shooter considered himself militia, social media posts show
Rittenhouse thought of himself as a militia member trying to protect life and property, according to videos, interviews and social media posts.
Video taken in the hours before the shooting shows Rittenhouse hanging out with older armed men, who tell the reporter they’re protecting a car lot. Rittenhouse then introduces himself as Kyle.
He also did a video interview with the Daily Caller in front of a boarded up building.
«People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business,» Rittenhouse says in the clip. «And my job also is to protect people. If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle; I’ve gotta protect myself obviously. But I also have my med kit.»
In another video clip, Rittenhouse is shown with members of the group shown earlier, getting bottles of water from a law enforcement officer in an armored vehicle. The officer thanks them for their help, though they are clearly civilians in violation of the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.
Asked about the interaction during a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said, «our deputies would toss water to anybody.»
Body camera footage: Kenosha officials delayed police body cameras for years before Jacob Blake shooting
What are local and national authorities saying?
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian joined other local law enforcement officials on Wednesday afternoon in pleading for protests to remain peaceful.
«People have differences of opinion. We have different concepts on how things should be done, but violence in the community is not acceptable … Violence to property, violence to people is absolutely unacceptable.»
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul condemned «armed vigilantes, arsonists, and other opportunists» in a Wednesday statement.
«The heavily armed vigilantes, arsonists, and other opportunists who have come to Kenosha to attempt to spur chaos have interfered with that and caused drastic harm to people,» Kaul said in the statement. «If those engaging in violence and destruction of property believe they are furthering some broader goal, they are wrong. They should leave Kenosha.»
Evers — who was criticized by conservatives after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Tuesday the governor had turned down an offer of federal help from Trump — tweeted condolences for the victims of Tuesday’s shooting.
«We cannot let the hateful actions of a few designed to create chaos distract us from our pursuit for a more fair, equitable, and accountable state and country for Jacob Blake and the many others who deserve justice,» Evers tweeted.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered his first remarks Wednesday on the shooting of Jacob Blake, saying, «What I saw in that video makes me sick.»
«Once again, a Black man – Jacob Blake – has been shot by the police in broad daylight with the whole world watching,» Biden said in a 90-second video released by his presidential campaign.
The former vice president said he spoke by phone to Blake’s mother, father, sister and other family members earlier in the day. Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris was on the call as well, she said.
«I told them, «Justice must and will be done,'» Biden said. «Our hearts are with his family, especially his children.»
Jacob Blake’s case: Dispatch audio provides timeline, Wisconsin DOJ investigating
The shooting of Blake on Sunday happened quickly, with less than three minutes elapsing between the time the first officer arrived and shots being fired, according to dispatch audio.
Here is a timeline of the shooting pieced together from police radio transmissions, Kenosha police, video and witnesses. The police radio traffic is from Broadcastify, a platform for streaming live audio of public safety, aircraft, rail and marine-related communications.
The Journal Sentinel, a part of the USA TODAY Network, typically does not rely on radio traffic to report on breaking news, as the information can change or be inaccurate. But this audio reveals some of what police officers were hearing, and the time stamps provide a general time frame of the shooting.
Dispatch audio: Jacob Blake was shot less than 3 minutes after Wisconsin police arrived at the scene
Officers have dashboard cameras in their squad cars but authorities did not say if any part of the shooting had been captured on those cameras.
The incident is being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, which has said it will attempt to present its findings to prosecutors within 30 days.
Contributing: Nick Penzenstadler, USA TODAY; Meg Jones and Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Hayes Gardner, Emma Austin, Lucas Aulbach, Louisville Courier Journal; The Associated Press