Three charged in ‘friendly’ shooting of friend who ‘gave him a little help’

Mr. Rittenhouse was cited for six charges, including reckless homicide, initially arrested on suspicion of three felony charges.

Mr. Rittenhouse, who was 26 years old at the time of the incident, had worked as a local prosecutor in Waukesha County since 2014. Prosecutors said the following details would be consistent with Mr. Rittenhouse shooting Mr. Williams at Mr. Williams’ place of work as a friend, while Mr. Williams was getting an assist from Mr. Rittenhouse on a snow plow.

Mr. Rittenhouse, who was described in police records as an “absolute buddy” of Mr. Williams, called 911 shortly after the incident. He reported Mr. Williams “was being very belligerent and uncooperative,” Mr. Rittenhouse told the dispatcher. The dispatcher gave Mr. Rittenhouse directions to the job site, then asked Mr. Rittenhouse to provide a description of Mr. Williams. “At the time he called 911, Mr. Williams had bloodshot, watery eyes, was sweating profusely, his face was red,” Mr. Rittenhouse told the dispatcher, according to an audio recording of the call. “He doesn’t want to talk to you right now, so I’m going to have to keep trying.”

Mr. Rittenhouse told the dispatcher that Mr. Williams had a strap around his neck, although he didn’t provide details about the strap. He also said Mr. Williams was acting irrationally when Mr. Rittenhouse tried to calm him down.

According to prosecutors, Mr. Rittenhouse pulled out his handgun, told Mr. Williams to drop the strap and asked if he wanted him to shoot him.

Mr. Rittenhouse could have faced up to seven years in prison on the three felonies, but the district attorney decided to file no charges at all. The decision prompted protests, outside the courthouse where the trial was held, and at Mr. Rittenhouse’s home.

The other two defendants in the case, Keith Zientek and William Alstetter, were indicted by a grand jury in September.

Mr. Rittenhouse’s attorneys said they would appeal the decision.

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