Christian Site Raises Over $97K for Kenosha Shooting Suspect Kyle Rittenhouse After Other Crowdfunds Taken Down

A fundraising campaign hosted on a Christian crowdfunding website that said it is raising money for Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooting suspect Kyle Rittenhouse generated more than $97,000 by Friday morning.

The campaign, which amassed more than 2,000 donations, was quickly approaching its $100,000 goal.

Other crowdfunding campaigns supporting 17-year-old Rittenhouse on GoFundMe and Fundly were taken down shortly after they were created following Rittenhouse's arrest on Wednesday. But GiveSendGo, which identifies itself as "the leader in Christian funding," decided to keep the campaign on its platform active.

One of the crowdfunding site's founders, Heather Wilson, told Newsweek in a statement on Thursday that the site was "committed to giving both sides of the political culture in our society an equal chance to let their voices be heard." Wilson said GiveSendGo did not plan to take the campaign down.

Kenosha protests
Protestors face off with police outside the County Courthouse during demonstrations against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. Late Tuesday night, a 17-year-old allegedly shot three people during the protests, two of whom died. KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The campaign's creators identified themselves as friends of Rittenhouse's family from Athens, Georgia. They wrote in the campaign's description that the campaign was intended to raise money for Rittenhouse's legal defense, because "Kyle and his family will undoubtedly need money to pay for the legal fees."

"Kyle Rittenhouse just defended himself from a brutal attack by multiple members of the far-leftist group ANTIFA—the experience was undoubtedly a brutal one, as he was forced to take two lives to defend his own," the campaign description said. The description went on say that Rittenhouse was "unfairly charged" with murder for an incident that "was clearly self-defense."

Rittenhouse was arrested on Wednesday and charged with first-degree intentional homicide for allegedly shooting three people during protests in Kenosha on Tuesday night, according to the Village of Antioch Police Department. Two of those shooting victims died, and the third was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Kenosha Police Department.

Tuesday marked the third night of protests after Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was allegedly shot multiple times by Kenosha police on Sunday. Video of the shooting quickly spread on social media and sparked the summer's latest surge of Black Lives Matter protests. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called in the state's National Guard on Monday to assist local law enforcement efforts, and President Donald Trump said earlier this week that he also planned to send federal troops into the city.

Rittenhouse was expected to appear in court on Friday for an extradition hearing so that he could be transferred from Illinois to Wisconsin.

In the hours before his expected court appearance, GiveSendGo donors left comments with the campaign voicing their support for his actions.

"As Americans, we must stand for what is right and Godly. I'm sorry (for him) that he had to take lives but it was to protect his own," one donor wrote.

"He did what the police should do—stop terrorists! Thank you Kyle. God bless you and your family," wrote another.

Wilson told Newsweek that GiveSendGo will continue allowing donors to contribute money to Rittenhouse's legal defense.

"We are not surprised that the campaign has raised the funds it has," Wilson said. "We made the determination to allow this campaign, due to the fact we found enough conflicting information on what really took place. We will continue to allow the raising of funds for Kyle's legal defense team from willing donors, despite death threats and thousands of hate messages."

Updated 8/28 at 3:52 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to include a response from GiveSendGo co-founder Heather Wilson.