(NBC) – The parents of a Wisconsin man fatally shot during protests against police brutality in Kenosha say their son was a hero and expressed disappointment in President Donald Trump and others for allegedly suggesting he “deserved to die.”
Anthony Huber, 26, was one of two men allegedly shot dead by a 17-year-old last month during a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
State prosecutors have charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois, with murder in the deaths of Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. A third man, Gaige P. Grosskreutz, was also wounded in the attack.
Rittenhouse’s lawyer, Pierce Bainbridge, said his client was acting in self-defense when he opened fire with a Smith & Wesson AR-15 style .223 rifle.
“Kyle did nothing wrong,” he said in a statement last month. “He exercised his God-given, Constitutional, common law and statutory law right to self-defense.”
Huber’s parents, John Huber and Karen Bloom, said in a statement released through their lawyers Friday that their son has been maligned by some, including the president.
“We are deeply disappointed that the president, members of the media and others have said that Anthony deserved to die for attempting to protect others from a person who had just killed someone,” they said.
The president, at an Aug. 31 briefing, that Rittenhouse “was trying to get away from them, I guess; it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him.”
Huber’s parents said “there was absolutely no justification for Anthony’s murder.”
He was a hero trying to protect others when he was gunned down, they said.
“He sacrificed his own life to protect innocent civilians who were out that night protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake,” they said. “Without his incredible bravery, many others could have been killed or injured.”
Rittenhouse faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
He is also facing two charges of reckless endangerment, which are also felony counts, and a misdemeanor count of possession of a dangerous weapon under the age of 18.
Prosecutors have said that minutes before midnight, Rittenhouse was being followed and “engaged” by Rosenbaum, a demonstrator, who Rittenhouse allegedly shot before fleeing. Rittenhouse was then confronted nearby by protesters, including Huber, prosecutors said.
The criminal complaint against Rittenhouse gave this account:
“Huber has a skateboard in his right hand. When Huber reaches the defendant it appears that he is reaching for the defendant’s gun with his left hand as the skateboard makes contact with the defendant’s left shoulder. Huber appears to be trying to pull the gun away from the defendant. The defendant rolls towards his left side and as Huber appears to be trying to grab the gun the gun is pointed at Huber’s body. The defendant then fires one round which can be heard on the video. Huber staggers away, taking several steps, then collapses to the ground. Huber subsequently died from this gunshot wound.”
Bainbridge said that someone “bashed” Rittenhouse “over the head with a skateboard” and that Rittenhouse was facing protesters who were trying to disarm him when he opened fire.
“In fear for his life and concerned the crowd would either continue to shoot at him or even use his own weapon against him, Kyle had no choice but to fire multiple rounds towards his immediate attackers, striking two, including one armed attacker,” he said.
Prosecutors said Grosskreutz appeared to have a gun when he approached Rittenhouse. But, they said, Grosskreutz had “his hands in the air” by the time Rittenhouse allegedly fired.
A medical examiner said gunfire to Huber’s chest perforated his heart, aorta, pulmonary artery and right lung.
The New York Times analyzed video from that night that showed police expressing appreciation and offering water to Rittenhouse and other armed men at the demonstration. This took place about 20 minutes after the teen allegedly opened fire, according to the publication.
“It has been disturbing to see videos and other information that has come to light suggesting that local police may have permitted and even encouraged armed vigilantes, including Anthony’s killer, to patrol the streets of Kenosha and threaten civilians with firearms,” Huber’s parents said.
“In America, we celebrate heroes like Anthony who sacrifice for their communities, not armed vigilantes who cause death and chaos in the streets.”