Arizona student group slammed for raising money for gunman

Political

FILE – In this Aug. 25, 2020, file photo, Kyle Rittenhouse, left, with backwards cap, walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., with another armed civilian. A Republican student group at Arizona State University is receiving backlash for donating money to Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old gunman who fatally shot two protesters in Wisconsin. College Republicans United announced this week that half of any funds they raise during the semester will go toward paying for the legal defense of Kyle Rittenhouse. (Adam Rogan/The Journal Times via AP, File)

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — A Republican student group at Arizona State University is receiving backlash for donating money to the 17-year-old gunman who fatally shot two protesters in Wisconsin.

College Republicans United announced this week that half of any funds they raise during the semester will go toward paying for the legal defense of Kyle Rittenhouse.

“He does not deserve to have his entire life destroyed because of the actions of violent anarchists during a lawless riot,” the group said in a tweet.

In a statement Saturday night, the ASU College Republicans denounced College Republicans United “radical, far-right extremist group.”

ASU College Republicans called for an investigation of the group.

Authorities in Kenosha, Wisconsin, say Rittenhouse shot and killed two people and severely wounded a third with an AR-15 rifle Tuesday. The victims were part of anti-racism demonstrations occurring in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, who is Black, by a white police officer.

Blake, who was shot seven times, remains hospitalized.

Rittenhouse told police he was trying to protect businesses and people and acted in self-defense. At a hearing Friday, a judge postponed a decision on whether Rittenhouse, who is in custody in Illinois, should be returned to Wisconsin to face charges, including first-degree intentional homicide.

ASU officials said in a statement the school cannot prohibit a group from fundraising. But the school does not endorse the fundraiser.

The group is not the only one raising money for Rittenhouse. A self-described Christian fundraising site, GiveSendGo, says it has raised more than $100,000 for his defense.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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