National Foundation for Gun Rights raises $50K to 'support' Kenosha shooting suspect Kyle Rittenhouse

Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported Jacob Blake's condition following an August police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

A conservative gun rights group has raised $50,000 for the Illinois teenager charged with shooting three people, two fatally, during protests last month in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The conservative National Foundation for Gun Rights, based in Loveland, Colorado, announced Thursday it has sent $50,000 to Kyle Rittenhouse for "defending himself and business owners" amid protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

"I spoke with Kyle's mother this morning to let her know NFGR received over a thousand donations amounting to over $50,000 from folks who support her son," NFGR Executive Director Dudley Brown said in a news release.

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Protesters on Aug. 29, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Protesters on Aug. 29, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

According to the news release, Rittenhouse's mother responded: "No words can describe what we're going through. Thank you so much — and I know Kyle and the rest of the family would say thank you too."

The gun lobby donation came after GoFundMe pulled down fundraisers intended to support Rittenhouse and refunded all donations, The Washington Times reported last month.

John Pierce, the lead attorney representing Rittenhouse, resigned his position with a Texas defense fund expected to help the 17-year-old because of a troubled financial history. Pierce and his firm have been involved in a series of financial entanglements, failing to pay nearly $70 million to two separate funders.

Pierce said he resigned from the #FightBack Foundation, which he co-founded, to avoid any "appearance of conflict."

Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois, is facing six charges, including one count of first-degree intentional homicide. He is being charged as an adult in Wisconsin and would face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

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The other charges include first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and one count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.

Video footage shows Rittenhouse, who is white, using an AR-15-style rifle. After the shootings, footage shows him raising his hands in an apparent surrender, but police drove past him.

Rittenhouse drove from his home in Illinois to the protests in Wisconsin to defend property from unrest, he told reporters. Protests erupted on Aug. 23 after police shot Blake, a Black man, in front of his children. Blake is now paralyzed.

Contributing: Ryan W. Miller, Ashley Luthern, Sarah Volpenhein, Grace Hauck and Jordan Culver, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kyle Rittenhouse: Gun group raises $50K for Kenosha shooting suspect