Kyle Rittenhouse's AR-15 Used in Fatal Shootings Destroyed at His Request

The AR-15 rifle used by Kyle Rittenhouse to fatally shoot two protesters and injure a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has been destroyed by a state crime lab.

Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder made the decision after Rittenhouse requested it be returned to him so he could destroy it himself. The Wisconsin State Crime Lab destroyed the rifle on February 25, WISN-TV reported Friday.

The rifle was a reminder of the controversial murder trial Rittenhouse faced late last year after the now 19-year-old used the AR-15 to fatally shoot Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and to wound Gaige Grosskreutz at a "Black Lives Matter" protest in 2020. Though he was acquitted in November after the jury ruled he had acted in self-defense, protests broke out in Kenosha in opposition to the verdict.

A few months after his acquittal, his spokesman said Rittenhouse wanted the gun destroyed and thrown away so no one could use it for publicity or to "celebrate" what Rittenhouse did. Schroeder, Rittenhouse's attorneys and Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, agreed the state would destroy the weapon.

Video taken on February 25 shows the gun getting crushed by being fed through a pulverizer machine, breaking it into small pieces.

Mark Richards, an attorney for Rittenhouse, told WISN there were inquiries to purchase the gun and that he and Rittenhouse did not want someone to buy the weapon and potentially profit off of something that was used to kill two men.

For the same reason, Rittenhouse also wanted the clothing he was wearing on the night of the shooting returned to him, the report said. Newsweek reported that these items were returned to him in January.

Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha in August 2020 ahead of a "Black Lives Matter" protest in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. At Rittenhouse's trial, he said he joined the fight to help protect local businesses from looting. He said he feared for his life and acted in self-defense when shooting the three men. The trial sparked debate over what the line is between vigilantism and exercising one's Second Amendment rights.

After four days of deliberation, the jury acquitted him of all charges, including first-degree intentional and reckless homicide, attempted intentional homicide and recklessly endangering safety.

Technically, the gun's owner was Dominic Black, who bought the weapon for Rittenhouse while he was still underage, saying it was his 18th birthday present. After pleading no contest to a reduced charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Black was given a $2,000 fine in lieu of jail time.

The Kenosha Police Department did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Update 03/11/22 6:10 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add information.

Kyle Rittenhouse's AR-15 Destroyed
Kyle Rittenhouse's AR-15 was destroyed at his own request. Above, Detective Ben Antaramian holds the rifle Rittenhouse used on August 25, 2020, for witness Dominick Black to identify during Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 2, 2021, in Wisconsin. Photo by Sean Krajacic/Pool/Getty Images