Fact Check: Kyle Rittenhouse Did NOT Cross State Lines With An AR-15

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Kyle Rittenhouse Did NOT Cross State Lines With An AR-15 No Possession

Did Kyle Rittenhouse cross state lines with an AR-15? No, that claim is misleading. The gun he used in the shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was "purchased, stored and used in Wisconsin," the Lake County Illinois State's Attorney's Office said in a statement. A friend testified during Rittenhouse's 2021 trial that he purchased the gun used in the shooting in Wisconsin, The New York Times reported. Court records obtained by The Washington Post showed that the rifle used in the shooting in Wisconsin went from Wisconsin to Illinois and then back but it was in the trunk of a car driven by Rittenhouse's friend and was not in Rittenhouse's possession while he was in Illinois.

The claim appeared in a Twitter post (archived here) on November 10, 2021. It opens:

This Rittenhouse testimony is pathetic.
He wouldn't have 'had' to shoot anyone if he hadn't crossed state lines with an AR-15 and a bulletproof vest for a protest he had no business being at

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Nov 10 20:22:05 2021 UTC)

The tweet was posted amid the trial for Rittenhouse, accused of six charges, including two counts of homicide and one count of attempted intentional homicide. He allegedly killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and shot Gaige Grosskreutz on August 25, 2020, at a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Rittenhouse did not "cross state lines" with the weapon as the tweet claims. Dominick David Black, Rittenhouse's friend, bought the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle for 17-year-old Rittenhouse in Wisconsin, The Washington Post reported. The rifle was reportedly purchased in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, with Rittenhouse's money and stored by Black's stepfather in Wisconsin. Rittenhouse lived in Antioch, Illinois, but attended the protest in Wisconsin. Black's stepfather gave Rittenhouse the gun to take to the protest.

While Rittenhouse used the weapon in the shootings, he did not have possession of the rifle in Illinois, The Washington Post reported:

After the shootings, Black allegedly drove Rittenhouse back to his home in Antioch, Ill., with the rifle in his trunk, and then kept the guns in Wisconsin, according to court records.

The origin of the weapon Rittenhouse used in the shootings was investigated by the Antioch Police Department. The Lake County State's Attorney's Office released a statement on October 13, 2020, making the distinction that Rittenhouse did not have physical possession of the weapon while in Illinois:

(Lake County, IL) An extensive investigation was conducted by the Antioch Police Department regarding the gun used in a shooting in Kenosha on Aug. 28. The Lake County State's Attorney's Office has reviewed that investigation to determine if any crimes were committed in Lake County, Illinois.

To that end, the investigation revealed the gun used in the Kenosha shooting was purchased, stored and used in Wisconsin. Additionally, there is no evidence the gun was ever physically possessed by Kyle Rittenhouse in Illinois.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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