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A man has been charged after admitting he fired first at protests in Kenosha, Wis., in August a few moments before Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed two attackers while wounding a third, court documents obtained by the New York Post state.
The criminal complaint obtained by the Post says that Joshua Ziminksi, 35, and his wife “both admitted” to police detectives that he “fired off a ‘warning shot’ into the air” during the August 25 protests and rioting.
Rittenhouse’s legal counsel has issued a statement saying that the first gunshot was a “pivotal moment” that left the 17-year-old believing he had “no way out” as he was being chased by rioters, having “no way to know who fired that shot.”
Prior to the shootings later that night, Rittenhouse spent his day in Kenosha working as a community lifeguard while later helping to scrub graffiti from a local public high school.
Daily Caller reporter Richie McGinniss, who witnessed the shootings, told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson just days later that he also heard a gunshot before Rittenhouse allegedly turned and shot Kenosha resident Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, as Rosenbaum was chasing him.
McGinniss said the sound of the gunshot was the moment Rittenhouse “went from running away to aiming his weapon” in what his lawyers insist was self-defense.
“What I saw was [the shooting “victim”] pursuing Rittenhouse, and Rittenhouse turned around. Right before he turned around, I’m not sure if this is the reason he turned around, but there was a gunshot. That’s actually visible on video,” McGinniss told Carlson.
Rittenhouse at first tried to provide first aid to the victim, but was set upon again by other rioters and was forced to retreat, his attorneys say.
Meanwhile, the 6’5” Ziminski was being investigated by the same police detectives assigned to look into Rittenhouse’s actions as well as the viral videos of the shootings that have been posted online, according to the complaint reviewed by the Post.
Ziminski, a Wisconsin native, was clearly seen “holding a black handgun” at several groups of people prior to the shooting, the complaint says. It adds that he was seen with his wife, Kelly, walking to the Ultimate Gas Station lot with one “arm pointing the gun upward towards the sky.”
Police “observed a muzzle flash emit from the handgun, and heard a gunshot at the same time,” actions that are corroborated by a video clip, say the court documents.
“Several other people are in the nearby vicinity when the defendant fires the handgun,” the documents note.
But after he and his wife “both admitted” he had fired a “‘warning shot’ into the air,” they then said they could not produce the handgun for officers because it was stolen from their home, the complaint says.
Court records say that Ziminski was booked last week for disorderly conduct and as well as improper use of a dangerous weapon. He pleaded not guilty during a virtual court hearing on Friday was released on a $1,000 cash bond. He is currently prohibited from possessing firearms and discussing the case with a girlfriend.
As he fled the scene, Rittenhouse was also attacked by others, including one person who tried to kick him and Anthony Huber, 26, who appeared to strike him over the head with a skateboard and take an AR-15-style rifle he was carrying.
Huber was shot and killed during the confrontation. Another man, Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, who was armed with a handgun, was severely wounded in his right arm.
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