Guns were turned in after Kenosha shooting, but Antioch police won't say who owned them

  • Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch is seen running down the street Wednesday in Kenosha. He is accused of shooting three people, killing two of them.

    Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch is seen running down the street Wednesday in Kenosha. He is accused of shooting three people, killing two of them. Video frame grab courtesy of Brendan Gutenschwager

 
 
Updated 8/28/2020 10:03 AM

Two guns were turned into police when a 17-year-old Antioch man charged in the Kenosha shootings surrendered himself, police said, but officials are not saying who owned the guns and whether they had valid firearm owners identification cards.

Kyle Rittenhouse was accompanied by his mother when he went to the police department Wednesday, Antioch Interim Police Chief Geoff Guttschow said Thursday. He faces multiple charges in Kenosha County, including first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, in the deaths of two Wisconsin residents late Tuesday. Cellphone video shows a young white man, apparently Rittenhouse, opening fire in the street with a semi-automatic rifle in Kenosha, which has been the site of fiery protests after a police officer shot resident Jacob Blake seven times in the back Sunday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

It's unclear who turned in the guns to Antioch police. Guttschow said the guns were then given to the Kenosha Police Department and wouldn't comment further, citing the ongoing investigation. Kenosha police didn't respond to a request for comment.

A court hearing regarding Rittenhouse's extradition to Wisconsin is set for 9 a.m. Friday in Lake County.

Wisconsin attorney Tom Grieve, who is not involved in the case, said first-degree intentional homicide is a Class A felony that carries a minimum sentence of life in prison, although a judge can allow the possibility of parole at 25 years with qualifiers.

Video shows the shooter had what looks like an AR-15 rifle, said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. Pearson condemned the shooter's actions, pointing out there are also federal laws regarding crossing state lines with the intent to commit a crime. "We have the laws," Pearsons said. "He violated them."

Under Illinois law, it's illegal for someone under 18 to possess "any firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person," which would seem to exclude a rifle.

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Illinois State Police would not say whether Rittenhouse or his mother have a valid FOID card, saying state statute bars the agency from disclosing that. In Illinois, minors under age 21 can apply for a FOID card as long as they have a sponsor who is a parent or legal guardian. The sponsor does not have to have a FOID card, but must be eligible for one.

There is no minimum age for minors to have a FOID card and there are no FOID-related restrictions regarding what types of guns minors can carry, state police spokeswoman Beth Hundsdorfer said.

The parent or guardian must sign an affidavit giving consent for the minor to possess firearms and ammunition, and saying, "(I) understand I shall be liable for any damages resulting from the minor applicant's use of firearms or firearm ammunition," according to the online form.

Wisconsin, which is an open-carry state, has "really convoluted" gun possession laws for people under 18, Grieve said. That's because possession of a gun by someone under 18 is a Class A misdemeanor, but there are also statutes that, for example, allow people under age 16 to have guns for hunting with certain safety provisions, but with no specific regulations for 17- and 18-year olds, Grieve said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Meanwhile, Illinois lawmakers and others weighed in Thursday on the Kenosha shooting.

Democrat U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood of the 14th Congressional District, which includes Antioch, called for a "complete and transparent investigation."

"That a 17-year-old from our community would have an assault weapon, travel to Kenosha, and allegedly commit grave violence toward protesters is an unspeakably horrific symptom of the toxic hate and division that permeate our country right now," she said. "This instance is painfully close to home, and it is not reflective of the values we hold dear in northern Illinois: that weapons of war, racism, and hate have no place in our communities, and we should never seek to solve problems through violence."

Underwood called for the U.S. Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. House that bans chokeholds, eliminates qualified immunity for law enforcement and more.

Republican candidate Jim Oberweis, who is challenging Underwood in the November election, said he was "deeply saddened by the violence" and urged leaders in Wisconsin "to get the situation under control" in Kenosha, pointing out the White House offered federal aid.

"What we are seeing in Kenosha is people who do not even live there coming into that community for the express purpose of destroying property and hurting people. Sadly, many of these agitators are coming from Illinois," Oberweis said.

Rittenhouse "should have never been in Kenosha in the first place," he said. "His recklessness has led directly to the deaths of two people."

  • • Daily Herald staff writer Russell Lissau contributed to this story.
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