After Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back 7 times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin and left in critical condition, the local community became the latest epicenter of national outrage about the ongoing problem of racist police violence in the United States.
While commentary and demonstrations have occurred in several cities across the country, Kenosha itself has been embroiled in the most intense protests which, though largely nonviolent, have included some destructive moments.
One of the most chaotic moments of that unrest came when 17-year-old Dylan Rittenhouse shot and killed two Black Lives Matter protesters on Tuesday night. Rittenhouse was arrested the following day and charged with murder.
Since Rittenhouse's arrest, more information has been uncovered about the young man responsible for those deaths. According to a VICE News report in which several of his former classmates were interviewed, Rittenhouse's conduct throughout high school suggested a remarkable tendency toward violence and a fanatic support of Donald Trump's hateful rhetoric.
One student, for example, recalled Rittenhouse's regular use of physical threats that, while concerning, seemed too implausible to actually do anything concrete about.
"When he got mad or offended he would always say he could 'f*** me up,' but everyone would just laugh because he was like a 5-foot-4 chubby freshman boy who we thought wasn't capable of harm."
"He went to middle school with my little sister and she said that everyone always thought of him to be a possible future shooter and so did I when I met him in high school."
That same student went on to outline Rittenhouse's fervor for his political leanings.
"If you said anything bad about Trump, he'd threaten you. Kyle was the type of kid to wear a MAGA hat or other apparel just for attention, or to "trigger" people."
Rittenhouse has been confirmed to have sat in the front row at a recent Trump rally.
Another interviewed student highlighted Rittenhouse's antagonistic behavior toward left-leaning peers.
"Kyle was kind of shy from what I remember, but he was definitely in your face and pushed his views hella. Like one of those kids that liked 'triggering libtards.'"
Vice continued to explain the particular circumstances of Rittenhouse's conduct leading up to the moment he shot and killed the two protesters.
He joined a group of armed, pro-police vigilantes who stood guard outside a gas station. When an altercation between that group and a collection of protesters occurred, Rittenhouse shot one of the people in that crowd.
Cell phone video from the incident captured a panicked Rittenhouse nervously uttering, "I shot somebody."
#Kenosha Sh00ter Caught On Video. "I SHOT SOMEBODY!!!" #KenoshaUprising #KenoshaProtests #Kenoshashooting… https://t.co/FzcpBYrXDz— 𝙎𝙝𝙢𝙚𝙘𝙠𝙚𝙡𝙟𝙪𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙄𝙣𝙘. (@𝙎𝙝𝙢𝙚𝙘𝙠𝙚𝙡𝙟𝙪𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙄𝙣𝙘.)1598423420.0
Rittenhouse then was chased by other protesters until he tripped and fell. He then turned, shot, and killed a second person.
For many people on Twitter, the discoveries about Rittenhouse's past seemed to add up.
@misstessowen @andrewkimmel He fits the profile. No sound minded teen would put themselves in that predicament. He intended to kill— 3xGreat (@3xGreat)1598561569.0
@misstessowen @LarryBoorstein It was illegal for him ,as a minor in both Wisconsin and Illinois, to carry a firearm… https://t.co/uqwyv0UIqQ— PögnandDestrier (@PögnandDestrier)1598567299.0
@misstessowen @chrislhayes Unfortunately this is what hate produces and creates. Exactly what TRUMP spews out of h… https://t.co/bjENOP0JE9— LEER, Andy (@LEER, Andy)1598565255.0
@misstessowen Short-tempered and easily offended. Gee! I don't know anybody who fits THAT description! https://t.co/nE7WmZ9OK4— Institute for Advanced Horsepucky Analysis (@Institute for Advanced Horsepucky Analysis)1598598939.0
We hope the families of Rittenhouse's victims find adequate support and strength as they grieve such sudden, horrible losses.