Kyle Rittenhouse shouted “Friendly! Friendly! Friendly!” as he was being chased by a man he then shot dead during a protest against racial injustice, a detective testified.
Rittenhouse’s lawyer called the confrontation a “classic ambush”.
Video took centre stage at Rittenhouse’s trial in the shootings of three men, two fatally, after he travelled to Kenosha in August last year with a medical kit and a rifle in what he said was an effort to safeguard property from damaging riots.
Jurors peered at infrared video made by an FBI surveillance plane from almost 3,000 metres above the spot where Rittenhouse shot 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum.
With coloured circles superimposed on the video identifying the movements of the two men below, Kenosha Police Detective Martin Howard agreed with defence attorney Mark Richards that Rittenhouse had repeatedly shouted “Friendly!” as he was being chased and that Mr Rosenbaum appeared to be gaining ground on him.
Mr Richards also described how Mr Rosenbaum had come out from behind a car to meet Rittenhouse before the shooting, saying to the detective: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but this looks like the classic ambush.”
After prosecutors objected, Mr Richards said: “Mr Rosenbaum is in hiding as my client arrives, correct?”
“It appears so, yes,” Det Howard responded.
Before testimony resumed yesterday, the judge dismissed a juror who had made a joke to a court security officer earlier this week about the police shooting of Jacob Blake – the black man whose wounding triggered the protests in Kenosha.
That juror, a retired white man, declined to repeat the joke for the judge.
Rittenhouse, now 18, could get life in prison if convicted in the politically polarising case.
The teenager said he went there to protect property after two nights in which rioters set fires and ransacked businesses in the wake of Mr Blake’s shooting by a white Kenosha officer.
Prosecutors have portrayed Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed, while his lawyer argued that he acted in self-defence after Mr Rosenbaum tried to grab his gun and others in the crowd kicked him in the face and hit him in the head with a skateboard.
In the courtroom, Rittenhouse, seated in the jurors’ line of sight, kept his eyes fixed on a desktop screen and showed no emotion as video depicted him walking down a street with his rifle and shooting at protesters, with people scattering and screaming.
Det Howard detailed injuries Rittenhouse suffered that night, all seemingly minor.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger drove home the point that Mr Rosenbaum was apparently unarmed.
Mr Richards drove against that on cross-examination, asking Det Howard what can happen if a weapon is taken from someone.
“It can be used against them as a deadly and dangerous weapon, correct?” Mr Richards asked. “Correct,” Det Howard replied.