In a courtroom drama, the judge is typically seen as an impartial party who rules on the outcome of cases. However, in the King County Courthouse this week, Judge Bruce Schroeder was not just a spectator – he starred in his own drama. Kyle Rittenhouse was testifying about his involvement with a drug ring when he suddenly collapsed and started convulsing uncontrollably after drinking from his water bottle. As medical technicians rushed to help him out of the room, Judge Schroeder ran over to make sure he was okay. The video footage captured by one of our reporters shows that before leaving with Rittenhouse’s dad for treatment at Harborview Medical Center, Judge Schroeder took off his robe and put it around Rittenhouse like a blanket.
Judge Schroeder is no stranger to the courtroom, but this was his first time as an actor. The presiding judge of King County Superior Court’s criminal division said he has seen people collapse before on the stand, but usually they are escorted out quickly with no fanfare. I’ve never taken my robe off for one, he said. But seeing the young man convulsing and turning blue, he said he knew we had to do something.
I didn’t think of it as a big deal; I was just somebody helping somebody, he said of removing his robe and draping it over Rittenhouse. I’m glad that it helped, but I wish it hadn’t been necessary. The county’s personnel manual states that when a judge is performing in an off-the-bench capacity, he or she does so without pay and must rely on the Good Samaritan laws for protection from liability.
He’s doing very well, Judge Schroeder said of Rittenhouse. It makes you feel good that the efforts you make are out there, and they’re making a difference. He added that he had seen Rittenhouse sitting in the courtroom gallery during other cases, and always took note of him because he was someone who deserved to be there. Schroeder commended the deputies at the scene for responding appropriately once it became clear that Rittenhouse needed medical help.
I couldn’t be prouder of our staff, he said.is highly respected and liked by the other judges and his colleagues, King County Sheriff’s spokesman John Urquhart added. He’s just a good guy who did what you hope other people would do in that situation. At this time it looks like Rittenhouse will recover, but the episode has been a help in refocusing efforts to combat drug abuse. I think it just highlights that drugs are bad, and that when you sell them to kids, they do have real life effects, he said.
Kyle was released from Harborview Medical Center on Monday afternoon with a clean bill of health. His father said it is likely there was a contaminant in the water that caused the seizure, but he’s not sure exactly what it could have been.
Sheriff’s department investigators are now testing the bottle to determine what happened. At this point we don’t know 100% exactly what occurred, Urquhart said, but it sounds like Judge Schroeder did a good thing.
Kyle and his family feel like they were blessed by the two men coming to his aid, and that this is just another step in Kyle’s journey towards redemption. They wholeheartedly believe that God put those people there at that time, as he has for every other obstacle in Kyle’s path, according to a statement provided by the family. Kyle wants everyone to know that he was not on drugs, nor had taken any illegal substances. He is very sorry for all of the pain and suffering caused by his actions in selling marijuana to high school kids.
Kyle knows there is only one solution in overcoming this terrible ordeal-the Love, Mercy & Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.