Monday in Wisconsin, Gaige Grosskreutz watches a video while testifying about being shot in the right arm during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse.
Gaige Grosskreutz, the only person who survived being shot by Kyle Rittenhouse at a chaotic demonstration last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, testified at a pivotal moment in Rittenhouse’s murder trial.
Grosskreutz, 27, acknowledged that he was armed with a pistol on the evening of August 25, 2020, but stated that he feared for his life due to the presence of Rittenhouse’s AR-15-style rifle during three hours of dramatic testimony on Monday. During cross-examination, Grosskreutz admitted that he was shot after accidentally pointing his own gun at Rittenhouse.
He said in court, “I never meant to kill the defendant.” “I was trying to save my own life at the time.” But I’m not able or willing to do that and kill someone else at the same time.”
Rittenhouse’s defense attorneys claim that he fired his AR-15-style rifle in self-defense that night.
In cross-examination, they emphasized Grosskreutz’s Glock pistol, which was in his hand when Rittenhouse shot him, and Grosskreutz’s proximity to Rittenhouse at the time of the shooting, which was approximately 3 feet. Grosskreutz stated that he did not deliberately aim the weapon at Rittenhouse.
As a medic and legal observer, Milwaukee paramedic Grosskreutz had attended dozens of Black Lives Matter demonstrations that summer. He carried medical supplies, livestreamed the events, and wore a “paramedic”-emblazoned cap.
Grosskreutz also carried a concealed handgun in the small of his back. Grosskreutz testified that he was unaware that his concealed carry permit had expired on the night in question.
The argument with Rittenhouse
Grosskreutz was approximately one block away from Rittenhouse when he first heard the gunfire, which was Rittenhouse shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum. According to Grosskreutz, as a medic, he ran toward the sound rather than away.
However, he then met Rittenhouse. Grosskreutz decided to run in the same direction as Rittenhouse after hearing screams from the crowd claiming Rittenhouse had just shot someone.
Thomas Binger, the prosecutor, tried to explain Grosskreutz’s decision by saying that his “services as a medic might be more needed in the direction the defendant was headed.” Grosskreutz said that Corey Chirafisi’s claim that it was a “chase” was not true.
He stated, “I believed the defendant to be an active shooter.” When a firearm enters the equation, the risk of serious injury and death increases significantly.
As Rittenhouse approached, Anthony Huber confronted him and struck him with a skateboard. Rittenhouse fatally shot Huber, 26 years old, in the chest.
Grosskreutz drew his firearm, holding it in his right hand while holding his cellphone in his left. He testified that he drew the gun not “with the intention of using it,” but rather to be “ready” if he deemed it necessary.
Then, Rittenhouse turned his rifle on Grosskreutz. When asked what he was thinking at the time, Grosskreutz responded, “I was going to die.”
Grosskreutz is seen on video evidence stopping and raising his hands with his gun pointed in the air. Grosskreutz testified that he observed Rittenhouse re-rack his rifle and chamber a new round.
Grosskreutz said in court, “At the time, I felt like I had to do something to keep from being killed or shot.” ” I decided the best thing to do was to do would be to get closer to the defendant. From there, I don’t know what to do—get the gun away from the defendant, arrest the defendant, or something else. I know that I never meant to kill the accused person.”
During cross-examination, Chirafisi pressed the witness on this incident.
He didn’t fire until you pointed your gun at him, are you sure? You approached him brandishing your weapon before dropping your hands and aiming it at him. the defense said.
“Correct,” Grosskreutz replied.
Grosskreutz described the shooting as one of the most traumatic events of his life. Prosecutors attempted to contrast Grosskreutz and Rittenhouse, who both arrived in Kenosha identifying themselves as medics.
Grosskreutz testified in depth about his medical education and training, as well as his experience as an EMT and paramedic for a private Milwaukee ambulance company.
Grosskreutz testified that prior to being shot by Rittenhouse, he had treated approximately ten patients for injuries caused by pepper spray and rubber bullets.
I had spent my time, money, and education prior to that time taking care of others. It is not who I am.” When asked why he didn’t shoot Rittenhouse himself, he said in a shaky voice, “I didn’t know how.” I would never want to be that person. And in that moment, I believed it would — I attempted to end the interaction in a non-lethal manner.”
Grosskreutz reportedly spent a week in the hospital for emergency care and several months undergoing physical therapy after the shooting. He described suffering from permanent weakness, muscle loss, and neurological damage.
Grosskreutz’s words in court were inconsistent with his statements to police in the days following the shooting, which was used by defense attorneys to cast doubt on Grosskreutz’s testimony.
Chirafisi inquired as to why Grosskreutz did not initially disclose that he had a firearm that night.
Grosskreutz responded, “I had just experienced one of the most emotionally and physically traumatic events of my life.” “I had just emerged from surgery. I had just been sedated. I took pain medication. This would not have been a deliberate omission.”
In January, the parents of Grosskreutz and Huber each filed a $10 million negligence claim against the city and county of Kenosha.
Chirafisi suggested that Grosskreutz hoped for a conviction in Rittenhouse’s case in order to increase his chances of winning the $10 million.
Grosskreutz has also filed a federal lawsuit against the city and county of Kenosha, accusing them of arming “white nationalist vigilantes” in an illegal way through a “roving militia.”