Editor's note: This story was published in September of 2020, before the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. During the trial we learned Gaige Grosskreutz's concealed carry permit was expired. For more recent stories on the trial and its aftermath, click here.
Exactly one month has passed since Gaige Grosskreutz was shot in the arm in Kenosha, and he is still recovering.
The 26-year-old was operating as a medic for people demonstrating two days after Jacob Blake was shot.
Amidst the chaos, Grosskreutz and two other men were shot, but only Grosskreutz survived.
"What happened was horrible," Grosskreutz said. "I was fortunate enough to walk away with my life and my arm that night."
Grosskreutz said he began working as a medic for social justice marches throughout the summer in and around Milwaukee following the death of George Floyd.
"It was always in this neutral medic capacity, because everybody has a right to freedom of speech, and everybody has a right to be safe when they're doing that, both sides included, for or against protesters," Grosskreutz said.
He said he went down to Kenosha on Tuesday, August 25, to continue to offer his help to demonstrators as a medic. This time, he said, it was a much more tense atmosphere.
"It felt like a war zone," Grosskreutz said. "It was completely different than anything I'd experienced in Milwaukee the past, like I said, almost 100 days."
During the unrest, court documents say videos show 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shoot three people, including Grosskreutz. 26-year-old Anthony Huber and 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum both died.
Grosskreutz said he believes his training as a medic helped him survive. He says another person helped apply the tourniquet.
He said he spent about a week in the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries. He says he lost about 90 percent of his bicep, and he's still in a lot of pain.
Rittenhouse's attorneys are claiming self-defense and are fighting the teen's extradition from Illinois, where he's from.
Grosskreutz says he was armed that night, too, but stressed he was following the law. He says he has a concealed carry permit and exercises his Second Amendment rights.
"It's not something that I brought specifically or just because of going down to Kenosha, it's something that I carry with me all the time," Grosskreutz said.
"I'm not a convicted felon, I have a legal right to possess a firearm, and the privilege to conceal carry it, I'm not a member of Antifa, I'm not this terrorist that people are trying to make me out to be," Grosskreutz said.
In the meantime, Grosskreutz said he's taking his recovery day by day. He says he's thankful for the support he's gotten from the community. He showed up for the 100th day of marching in Milwaukee earlier this month. He says it was important for him to be there, "to show support for my brothers and sisters who are advocating for a number of causes."
He says he doesn't plan to stop marching with the group. He said he doesn't have any resentment, and he wants to recover and move forward.
"I just hope that us as Americans, and quite frankly as human beings, we can just do better than this," Grosskreutz said. " Because again nobody should have to fear for their safety."
Friends of Grosskreutz set up a GoFundMe for him to help with recovery.