The lone survivor allegedly shot by Kyle Rittenhouse during a night of mayhem took the stand Monday and emotionally described how he feared for his life after watching the teen fatally shoot another man at close range.
Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, a trained medic who had provided aid at around 75 protests, denied that he was trying to kill Rittenhouse, then 17, by pulling a pistol on him after the teen fatally shot two other men in the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 25, 2020.
“That’s not the kind of person that I am. It’s not why I was out there for 75 days prior to that, why I spent up until that point my time, my money, my education providing care for people,” Grosskreutz told the Wisconsin court as his voice was breaking.
“It’s not who I am and definitely not somebody that I would want to become,” he added.
Grosskreutz testified that night he had heard a series of gunshots around the time that Rittenhouse fatally shot his first victim, Joseph Rosenbaum.
“After … seeing people running northbound and then hearing people yelling ‘medic,’ I started running southbound towards what I presumed at the time to be the origin of the gunshots,” he said.
While filming on his phone, Grosskreutz began running alongside Rittenhouse, who was holding an AR-style rifle.
“What are you doing? You shot somebody?” Grosskreutz could be heard saying in the video.
Grosskreutz testified Monday that he heard others shouting that Rittenhouse “just shot a guy.”
“In the moment, I thought that the defendant was an active shooter,” Grosskreutz said.
Grosskreutz was wearing a hat that night that said “paramedic” and was carrying medical supplies as well as a loaded pistol.
“I believe in the Second Amendment. I’m for people’s right to carry and bear arms,” he said of his decision to be armed. “And that night was no different than any other day. It’s keys, phone, wallet, gun.”
He said he then witnessed Rittenhouse fatally shoot Anthony Huber at close range.
“I thought there was a high likelihood that I would get shot myself,” Grosskreutz said, adding that he then saw the teen reload his weapon.
“In that moment, I felt I had to do something to try and prevent myself from being killed,” he said.
Asked what was going through his mind as he pulled his gun from the holster, he said, “That I was going to die.”
But before he could fire the weapon, Rittenhouse opened fire and struck him in the arm.
Under cross-examination Monday, Grosskreutz was hammered for not initially revealing to authorities that he was armed during the encounter with Rittenhouse.
“Would you think in the case where you are shot, that providing the police information that you were actually possessing a firearm at the time would be relevant?” defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked.
“I think that’s fair, yes,” Grosskreutz replied.
But he insisted that not mentioning the weapon wasn’t a “purposeful omission.”
“I had just gotten out of surgery when the Kenosha police officers had arrived and just gone through one of the most traumatic experiences in my life, both emotionally and physically,” Grosskreutz said.
“I just got out of surgery. I would have just been sedated. I was on pain meds.”
Chirafisi also brought up Grosskreutz’s lawsuit against the city of Kenosha, in which he accuses police of enabling the violence by allowing an armed militia to wreak havoc in the streets.
“If Mr. Rittenhouse is convicted, your chance of getting 10 million bucks is better, right?” Chirafisi said.
Rittenhouse, now 18, faces six criminal charges, including intentional homicide and attempted homicide.
His attorneys have claimed he acted out of self-defense, while prosecutors have argued that he was the instigator of the violence.
If convicted of the top charge, he would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.