Kyle Rittenhouse spotted in Suncoast restaurant after Fox interview

Kyle Rittenhouse enters the courtroom to hear the verdicts in his trial  at the Kenosha County...
Kyle Rittenhouse enters the courtroom to hear the verdicts in his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Rittenhouse has been acquitted of all charges after pleading self-defense in the deadly Kenosha shootings that became a flashpoint in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice. The jury came back with its verdict afer close to 3 1/2 days of deliberation.(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 11:06 AM CST
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ENGLEWOOD, Fla. (Sun Newspapers) - Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager who was acquitted of killing two people during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin during a trial that garnered national attention, was recently spotted near Englewood.

Rittenhouse visited a restaurant in Placida after taping an interview with Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, who lives in nearby Boca Grande.

A photo of Rittenhouse at Smokin Jerry’s at Gasparilla Marina in Placida was shared hundred of times on social media, including from Republican lawmakers Florida Sen. Joe Gruiters and Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler, who added a message to Rittenhouse, “Welcome to the free state of Florida sir!”

Ziegler told our coverage partners at The Daily Sun what he meant by his comment. “I love his (Rittenhouse’s) tourism dollars being spent at restaurants in our backyard, and that Florida appreciates the concept of self-defense because we appreciate freedom and law and order,” Ziegler said.

Rittenhouse gave the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show host exclusive interviews after being acquitted of five charges last week, including killing two people. The show aired Monday.

The high-profile murder trial showed jurors videos of then 17-year-old Rittenhouse shooting two people and injuring another on Aug. 25, 2020, during a riot in Kenosha following a police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man.

Rittenhouse said he brought a semi-automatic rifle to the protest in Kenosha to protect a car dealership from being vandalized and to give medical aid. He shot Joseph Rosenbaum four times, killing him. He also shot Anthony Huber in the chest, killing him. He shot Gaige Grosskreutz in the right arm. Grosskreutz lost part of his arm, but lived. Rittenhouse said he shot the men in self-defense.

After three and a half days of deliberation, the jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on the five charges. That night Tucker Carlson spoke about the jury’s decision on his show. He called it a “significant day in the recent history of the country.”

“The jury affirmed what was obvious from the very beginning he acted in self defense, it was a wonderful moment,” Carlson said on his show. “Anyone who believes in impartial justice was vindicated.”

“I tell everybody there what happened,” Rittenhouse told Carlson. “I had to do it I was attacked. I was dizzy, I vomiting, I couldn’t breathe.”

Rittenhouse will also be appearing in a “Tucker Carlson Originals” documentary on Fox Nation set to premiere in December. The documentary will include additional portions of the interview as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Rittenhouse and his defense team.

Rittenhouse said he believes the jury came to the correct verdict and that everything went well. “It’s been a rough journey, but we made it through it. We made it through the hard part,” he said.

In choosing Fox, Rittenhouse’s family is putting the story before an audience most likely to be supportive. Conservatives paid his $2 million bail after his arrest last year. A website devoted to defending Rittenhouse and raising money for him greets visitors with a quote attributed to James Monroe: “the right of self-defense never ceases.”

-- Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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