(Headline USA) Protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake — who resisted arrest as he maneuvered to access a knife — were more peaceful following the arrest of a 17-year-old police admirer accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a chaotic night of demonstrations and unrest.
As of early Thursday, no groups patrolled with long guns as there were during previous nights of protests over the Sunday shooting of Blake, who was left paralyzed. Protesters also stayed away from a courthouse that had been the site of standoffs with law enforcement.
Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, about 15 miles from Kenosha, was taken into custody on Wednesday in Illinois on suspicion of first-degree homicide in shootings late Tuesday that were largely captured on cellphone video.
“I just killed somebody,” the gunman, carrying a semi-automatic rifle, could be heard saying at one point while jogging away from a man who had just been fatally shot in the head.
In the wake of the killings, far-left Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers finally accepted federal law enforcement assistance that had been offered by President Trump for days.
“It is a tragedy that two people had to lose their lives before Gov. Evers was willing to set aside politics and accept President Trump’s help to restore order in Kenosha,” said Wisconsin Rep. Bryan Steil and Sen. Ron Johnson, both Republicans, in a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon. “Violence and chaos like we’ve seen the last three nights do nothing to advance justice, and they drown out the voices of those protesting peacefully.”
The governor also authorized the deployment of 500 members of the National Guard to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops in the city of 100,000 midway between Milwaukee and Chicago. Authorities also announced a 7 p.m. curfew, though protesters ignored it again Wednesday.
Protesters marched past the intersection where two people were shot Tuesday night, stopping to gather around the spot where one person was shot, and to pray and lay flowers. Daijon Spann said he decided to join the demonstration because one of those killed the night before was a friend.
“I couldn’t take it any more,” he said. “I couldn’t just sit there and watch my friend die.”
Evers, a Democrat, issued a statement asking those who wanted to exercise their First Amendment rights to “please do so peacefully and safely” and urging others to “please stay home and let local first responders, law enforcement and members of the Wisconsin National Guard do their jobs.”
“A senseless tragedy like this cannot happen again,” Evers said.
In Washington, the Justice Department said it is sending in more than 200 federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The White House said up to 2,000 National Guard troops would be made available. The Justice Department also announced that the U.S. attorney’s office and FBI would conduct a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Blake, in cooperation with Wisconsin state law enforcement agencies.
The two people killed late Tuesday were identified only as a 26-year-old Silver Lake, Wisconsin, resident and a 36-year-old from Kenosha. The wounded person, a 36-year-old from West Allis, Wisconsin, was expected to survive, police said.
Rittenhouse was assigned a public defender in Illinois for a hearing Friday on his transfer to Wisconsin. The public defender’s office had no comment. Under Wisconsin law, anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.
Much of Rittenhouse’s Facebook page is devoted to praising law enforcement, with references to Blue Lives Matter, a movement that supports police. He also can be seen holding an assault rifle.
On Wednesday, three days after the shooting, state authorities identified the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department. Sheskey shot Blake while holding onto his shirt after officers first unsuccessfully used a Taser, and he escaped their grasp on the opposite side of his vehicle and refused to obey officers’ commands, the Wisconsin Justice Department said. State agents later recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle, the department said.
The man who said he made the widely circulated cellphone video of Blake’s shooting has said he heard officers yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before the gunfire erupted. He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.