Kenosha officer who shot Blake identified; Illinois 17-year-old arrested in deaths of two protesters
KENOSHA, Wis. (WKBT) — The police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back at point-blank range Sunday night is Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said Wednesday evening.
The shooting of Blake, who is hospitalized in serious condition and possibly paralyzed, sparked three nights of violence in Kenosha, culminating Tuesday night when a gunman killed two people and injured another while shooting into a crowd.
Earlier Wednesday, police in Antioch, Ill., arrested 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide in connection with those two slayings.
Rittenhouse, who is white, is said to have traveled the 15 miles from Antioch to Kenosha with a semi-automatic rifle. A cellphone video shows Rittenhouse opening fire in the middle of the street.
“I just killed somebody,” the gunman was heard saying at one point during the rampage that erupted just before midnight.
During the incident in which officer Sheskey shot the 29-year-old Blake Sunday night, Kenosha police officers had been dispatched to a residence after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises, according to a Wisconsin DOJ news release Wednesday night.
Officers attempted to arrest Blake, including using a Taser in an attempt to stop him. Blake walked around his vehicle, in which his children were riding, opened the driver’s side door and leaned forward, the DOJ said.
Sheskey held onto Blake’s shirt and fired his service weapon seven times into Blake’s back, the DOJ said.
No other officers fired weapons, and the Kenosha department does not have body cameras, the DOJ said. Sheskey and other officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.
During the investigation following the initial incident, Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession. State Department of Criminal Investigation agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s vehicle.
A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.
Law enforcement immediately provided medical aid to Blake, and Flight for Life transported him to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Blake remains at the hospital, and his attorney and family members say he is paralyzed.
In the wake of the killings, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers authorized sending of 500 members of the National Guard to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops. The governor’s office said he is working with other states to bring in additional National Guard members and law officers.
Authorities also announced a 7 p.m. curfew, an hour earlier than the night before.
“A senseless tragedy like this cannot happen again,” the Democratic governor said. “I again ask those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights please do so peacefully and safely, as so many did last night. I also ask the individuals who are not there to exercise those rights to please stay home and let local first responders, law enforcement and members of the Wisconsin National Guard do their jobs.”
Members of Blake’s family also appealed for nonviolence, saying Blake himself would not want that reaction.
The Wisconsin DCI is leading this investigation, assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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