Donors on a Christian crowdfunding website have raised more than $200,000 intended for the legal defense of an Antioch teen accused of killing two people last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, remained at a Lake County, Illinois, juvenile detention center Monday, a sheriff's office representative confirmed. The teenager awaits extradition to Wisconsin, where he faces multiple charges in connection with the fatal shootings of two people at an Aug. 25 protest that began after the Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man with Evanston ties.
The fundraiser, created on a website called GiveSendGo.com, surpassed its $200,000 goal with $275,702 raised for Rittenhouse's legal defense as of Monday evening.
An update from the fundraiser's creators Friday indicated the money would be donated to the #FightBack Foundation. The nonprofit was founded in part by one of the teen's attorneys, Lin Wood, who previously warned against donations to other platforms for the 17-year-old's defense.
According to the foundation's website, it exists to "bring lawsuits to check the lies of the left" and fight against "fake news."
Wood could not be reached for comment Monday.
Separate fundraisers on GoFundMe.com appeared to be raising money for surviving gunshot victim Gaige Grosskreutz and the families of the two men who died, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. No active campaigns associated with those names appeared on GiveSendGo.com as of Monday evening. Similarly, no active fundraisers under Rittenhouse's name were on GoFundMe.com.
Rittenhouse surrendered himself to Antioch police Wednesday and was taken to a Vernon Hills juvenile detention center as an alleged fugitive from justice. In Wisconsin, he's charged as an adult, consistent with state law there.
In addition to charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, Rittenhouse is charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a person younger than 18.
Wood previously said on Twitter that Rittenhouse never carried a weapon across state lines.
"When you start manufacturing facts to support false accusations, you get into trouble under the law of defamation," Wood said in a tweet Friday. "Kyle did not carry a gun across state lines. The gun belonged to his friend, a Wisconsin resident. The gun never left the state of Wisconsin. Truth always prevails."
Messages from anonymous donors on GiveSendGo.com offered Rittenhouse words of encouragement. Some donors referred to Rittenhouse as "an American hero" or a "true patriot." Multiple commenters also said Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense at the time of the fatal shootings. Alternatively, others have lauded the shooting victims as heroes who tried to disarm Rittenhouse.
Last week, Wisconsin prosecutors filed criminal charges again Rittenhouse in connection with the shootings. The most serious charge, first-degree intentional homicide, is punishable by life in prison, court documents show.
Illinois state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, made a trip to Kenosha on Sunday, where he said he witnessed firsthand the result of looting and damage that has occurred since police shot Blake on Aug. 23.
"It's a nightmare out there," said McSweeney, who donated water and canned goods to affected areas.
Although McSweeney believes Wisconsin and Illinois' governors should have requested support from the National Guard sooner, he also condemned "violence on all sides."
"My position is that there has to be zero tolerance for any type of violence," McSweeney said.