Kyle Rittenhouse 'freaking out,' said people ‘were trying to hurt him,’ friend testifies

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Kyle Rittenhouse was “freaking out,” pale and seemed “really scared” in the moments after shooting three men during destruction and unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and said he had to do it because “people were trying to hurt him,” a friend testified at Rittenhouse’s murder trial.

Dominick Black was the first person to testify in the trial, taking the stand as the prosecution’s first witness. Black bought the rifle for Rittenhouse months before the shootings because he was not old enough to own one at the time.

He traveled to Kenosha with Rittenhouse on the night of the shooting, Aug. 25, 2020, but was separated from Rittenhouse when he fatally shot two men and wounded a third.

Dominick Black looks at a photograph held by Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, where he along with Kyle Rittenhouse and a group of others posed on Aug. 25, 2020, during Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

Black faces his own trial for buying the 17-year-old Rittenhouse an AR-15-style rifle he wasn’t old enough to legally possess. He testified on Tuesday that he was stunned when Rittenhouse called him seconds after the first shooting.

“I didn’t believe the gunshots were actually his until I got a phone call, and I answered it, and he just said, ‘I shot somebody, I shot somebody,’” Black recounted.

During his Tuesday testimony, Black said he and Rittenhouse went to downtown Kenosha to help protect a car dealership from property damage after cars at another lot owned by the same business were burned the night before. Black said he thought nobody would start trouble if they saw him with his assault-style rifle.

Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two protesters in Wisconsin during a period of civil unrest, received thousands of dollars in donations for his legal defense from public officials and police officers.  (Adam Rogan/The Journal Times via AP, File)

Black said he was on the rooftop when he heard gunshots but didn’t know Rittenhouse was involved until Rittenhouse called and said, “I shot somebody, I shot somebody.”

Afterward, Black said, Rittenhouse was “freaking out. He was really scared. He was pale, shaking a lot.” Black said Rittenhouse told him that he acted in self-defense because “people were trying to hurt him.”

Rittenhouse is charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, recklessly endangering safety and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. 

Defense attorney Mark Richards stands at right as he confers with defendant Kyle Rittenhouse, as defense attorneys Natalie Wisco, seated at left, and Corey Chirafisi also confer during a break in jury selection during Rittenhouse’s trial in Kenosha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. (Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP)
(Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP)

He was 17 in August 2020 when he traveled from his home state of Illinois during protests in the city over the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Wednesday’s testimony began shortly after 9 a.m. local time, with Koerri Washington returning to the stand following a brief questioning on Tuesday afternoon. Washington is one of the people who witnesses the protests in August 2020, capturing much of the events on livestreamed video. 

Rittenhouse’s trial is expected to last at least two weeks. 

Fox News’ Paul Best and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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