KENOSHA, Wis. (The Southern African Times) – A teenager was arrested and charged with homicide on Wednesday in connection with gunfire that killed two people and wounded a third during protests over the police shooting of a Black man in the Wisconsin city of Kenosha.
Civil unrest has rocked the city of about 100,000 that lies between Chicago and Milwaukee, since Sunday, when police shot Jacob Blake, 29, multiple times in the back at close range.
On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks – the only NBA team based in Wisconsin – did not leave the locker room for their playoff game with the Orlando Magic in an apparent protest over the incident that reignited a movement against racism and police brutality that erupted across the United States in May.
The National Basketball Association later canceled all its games for Wednesday.
While outbreaks of vandalism and arson that destroyed several businesses marred the first two nights of protests, the third night turned deadly. Protesters and mostly white armed self-proclaimed militia members, who said they had been guarding local businesses, began to clash in the streets.
“What it seems to be is a member of a militia group who decided to be a vigilante and take the law into his own hands and mow down innocent protesters,” Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes told MSNBC before the arrest was reported.
The suspected shooter was identified as Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, who was arrested on a warrant in Illinois and charged with first-degree intentional homicide, according to court documents.
The public defender’s office in Lake County, Illinois, where Rittenhouse was being held pending extradition to Wisconsin, declined to comment.
The violence coincided with the second night of the Republican National Convention, which nominated President Donald Trump as the party’s candidate in the Nov. 3 election. Trump has made “law and order” crackdowns on violent protests a centerpiece of his campaign.