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Wisconsin authorities identify police officer who they say fired seven times at Jacob Blake

Key Points
  • Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake, 29, while holding onto his shirt after officers first unsuccessfully used a taser and as Blake leaned into his vehicle during an incident Sunday evening, the agency's news release said.
  • State agents later recovered a knife from the driver's side floorboard of the vehicle, the release said. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.
  • No charges were announced and the state Department of Investigation was continuing to investigate.
A woman paints the name of Black man Jacob Blake on the street as protesters demonstrate for racial equality in midtown Manhattan following the police shooting in Wisconsin of Blake, in New York City, New York, U.S., August 24, 2020.
Mike Segar | Reuters

The Wisconsin officer who shot a Black man, Jacob Blake seven times in the back has been identified as a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department, the state Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake, 29, while holding onto his shirt after officers first unsuccessfully used a taser and as Blake leaned into his vehicle during an incident Sunday evening, the agency's news release said.

State agents later recovered a knife from the driver's side floorboard of the vehicle, the release said. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.

No charges were announced and the state Department of Investigation was continuing to investigate.

On Tuesday, Ben Crump, the lawyer for Blake's family, said it would "take a miracle" for Blake to walk again. He called for the officer who opened fire to be arrested and for the others involved to lose their jobs.

The shooting was captured on cellphone video and ignited new protests in the U.S. three months after the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer touched off a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden posted a video saying he had spoken with Blake's parents and other family members.

"What I saw on that video makes me sick," Biden said. "Once again, a Black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police in broad daylight, with the whole world watching.

The shooting set off three nights of unrest in the city midway between Milwaukee and Chicago.

A white, 17-year-old police admirer was arrested Wednesday after two people were shot to death during a third straight night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of Blake.

Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was taken into custody in Illinois on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide. Antioch is about 15 miles from Kenosha.

In the wake of the killings, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers authorized the sending of 500 members of the National Guard to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops. The governor's office said he is working with other states to bring in additional National Guard members and law officers. Authorities also announced a 7 p.m. curfew, an hour earlier than the night before.

"A senseless tragedy like this cannot happen again," the governor, a Democrat, said in a statement. "I again ask those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights please do so peacefully and safely, as so many did last night. I also ask the individuals who are not there to exercise those rights to please stay home and let local first responders, law enforcement and members of the Wisconsin National Guard do their jobs."

In Washington, the Justice Department said it is sending in the FBI and federal marshals in response to the unrest. The White House said up to 2,000 National Guard troops would be made available.

And in Orlando, the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, a team based in Wisconsin, didn't take the floor for their playoff game against the Magic. It was later announced that all three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice.

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