KENOSHA, Wis. – Two brothers whose family owns three car lots in the center told jurors in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder case they never asked his group of armed men to protect their businesses or give them permission to do so.
Some from that group have previously testified that a friend of a friend of Rittenhouse who used to work at Car Source had offered to help, and Anmol “Sam” Khindri accepted and gave keys to enter in the workshop and a ladder to get up to the roof.
Khindri told jurors on Friday that he did not have such conversations, nor did he offer keys to the store. He recalled that early on 25 August 2020, Rittenhouse was among dozens of people who spoke to him with sympathy and encouragement after the family’s main caravan site had been burned the first night of unrest.
Salil Khindri, his brother, also testified. He said he was working with a technician on the family’s Car Source site at 63rd Street and Sheridan Road when Rittenhouse’s group of friends and some older men with rifles were mustering on the site.
This would be where Rittenhouse later killed Joseph Rosenbaum.
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Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked, “So, all these guys are on your family’s property, and you’re not asking them to leave?”
“Not when they’re dressed like that,” he said. He even posed for a picture with the group.
Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi suggested that Anmol Khindri might be trying to avoid civil liability that could result from allowing gunmen on the family property where someone was killed.
Khindri denied any such concern.
He seemed vague and evasive to several questions from Chirafisi about the extent of the business losses, whether it was insured, or whether the family had hired a lawyer to handle the insurance company.
Khindri also appeared to be confused about who he might have seen where and when on August 25, but repeatedly maintained that he was making no effort to gain the protection of Rittenhouse’s group.
“So, were you just willing to let your property be damaged on the 25th? You just resigned with it?”
Khindri said he did not know.
Earlier Friday, Kariann Swart, Rosenbaum’s fiancé, testified that he had returned to the motel where the couple had been staying late in the afternoon of August 25 after a hospital stay in Milwaukee. She said he was taking medication to control the bipolar condition.
They spoke out in the evening, she said, before walking around 6 p.m. 21.30. She said she told him he was not allowed to enter the city because of the unrest and curfew.
Rosenbaum was among crowds that milled around Sheridan Road about two hours later, behaving very aggressively toward others, according to several witnesses. He tried to start a fire and at one point demanded that the gunmen shoot him.
One said Rosenbaum told him and Rittenhouse that he would kill them if he ever saw one of them alone.
Not long after that, he chased Rittenhouse, who was alone, into the 63rd Street Car Source lot, where Rittenhouse shot him four times.
As he ran north after the shooting, Rittenhouse bumped into one of the older armed men he had been with earlier in the night.
Jason Lackowski served five years in the Marines. He testified Friday that he had come from Brown Deer sometime after 6 p.m. 22.00 with his AR-15 rifle to help the community. He said he had heard the shots while on 59th Street, and was running south.
He met Rittenhouse on the northern edge of the 63rd Street lot. He looked pale and fragile and told Lackowski, “I did not shoot anyone, but I need help.”
Lackowski said he asked Rittenhouse to go to the police, who had established a larger presence on 60th Street. He said he started walking with him but stopped and turned south when he heard several shots. Seconds later, several shots were fired from the north.
That was then, he said, he blacked out.
“Like lights on, but no one at home,” he said.
At cross-examination, Chirafisi, the defense attorney, asked if it was not more logical for Rittenhouse to tell him that he had shot someone and needed help.
Binger, the prosecutor, protested, noting that Lackoski’s testimony was consistent with his statement to the FBI shortly after the events. The judge agreed that the question was argumentative.
Lackowski said he also did not hear any more people shouting that Rittenhouse had shot anyone, only a statement about “Get him.”
Chirafisi asked if the one “he” was had anything to worry about given the crowd.
Lackowski said yes. He said he did not conclude that Rittenhouse could have shot anyone, based on his non-aggressive behavior earlier in the evening.
The next thing Lackowski remembered was watching Gaige Grosskreutz kneel at the roadside and scream for a doctor. He had just been shot in the arm by Rittenhouse.
He said he helped use a muzzle until police arrived and moved Grosskreutz into an armored car. He then warned a spectator who was picking up Grosskreutz’s gun.
Lackowski took it, removed the magazine and emptied the chamber before handing it over to police.
Lackowski had described being trained to “shout, push, show, then shoot” when dealing with aggression or possible attack.
“Has the race gone or retreated in there?” Chirafisi asked, “Have you ever been trained to take to the hills?” Lackowski said “no.”
Rittenhouse faces a charge of ruthless murder in Rosenbaum’s death, attempted murder to shoot Grosskreutz and first-degree premeditated murder in Anthony Huber’s death.
Follow Bruce Vielmetti on Twitter: @ProofHearsay.
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