Of that group, any one of them could have saved Kenny Singleton, an unarmed 47-year-old local mental health clinician.
On Friday morning, Rittenhouse was charged with murder, attempted murder, and reckless endangerment. Two days earlier, Singleton was killed by Rittenhouse and coworkers David Fortner and Jeanette Frazier after Rittenhouse shot and killed the group’s drill sergeant, Richard Madsen, when he was naked and unarmed. That act resulted in a violation of the military’s rules of engagement. Madsen is now faceng retaliation charges.
Fortner, Frazier, and Rittenhouse were disciplined for their conduct following the incident, but as is often the case in military court cases, all three faced potential punishments that fell short of charges that could’ve led to court-martial. And Singleton, who didn’t witness the deadly shooting of Madsen, wasn’t allowed to appear on the witness stand. The attorneys went before an investigator on Thursday and asked for permission to waive the pre-trial process and forward the case to a military judge, instead. The report provides no rationale as to why Rittenhouse and the other three were allowed to make these motions. However, military rules give defendants the right to move cases to higher levels if there’s substantial doubt about the court-martial, and a motion to waive military court proceedings is considered such a presumption.
The investigation report details the tension between the group of men after the rifleman Madsen entered the training facility, according to a witness. Madsen wore no socks and was in civilian clothes. Before he entered the building, Rittenhouse asked the men to find a place for Madsen to sleep. Rittenhouse said that they should provide that space, and if they didn’t then Madsen would not be safe. Rittenhouse said that he wanted it to be a safe place for him, according to his attorney, Gary Fink. The investigator told the six men that Rittenhouse wanted to perform a “daylight show”, and they advised him that didn’t comply with orders.
Madsen came to his mind, but he was naked, the witness said. When Rittenhouse confronted Madsen about his clothes, “the response of the witness group is to yell, ‘Fuck you,’” the investigator said. Instead of asking Madsen to put on his clothes, the group called for the rifleman to “melt down”. At that point, Rittenhouse appeared to have his gun out, the investigator said.
Singleton’s father, George Singleton, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he supports the shooter, noting “if I didn’t agree with his right to protect myself, why would I want to have the man as a father?”
John Thomas, a representative for Keith Burnside, the army’s MHC NCO council, told the Chicago Tribune that a majority of the others in the training facility didn’t agree with Rittenhouse’s actions, too. “We can do better and learn from this incident and ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” he said.