April 22, 2024

Ralph Yarl: Andrew Lester, accused of shooting black teen, turns himself in

  • Published
Image shows Ralph YarlIMAGE SOURCE,REUTERS

An 84-year-old man in the US state of Missouri has turned himself in to police after shooting a black teenager who mistakenly rang his doorbell.

Andrew Lester was bailed after being charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action, both felonies.

The white homeowner allegedly shot Ralph Yarl, 16, once in the head and once in the arm last Thursday night in Kansas City.

The boy survived, and doctors say they have no idea how.

A prosecutor said there was a “racial component” to the shooting. Mr Lester has not been charged with a hate crime, and charging documents do not describe any alleged racial bias.

The teenager told authorities he had mistakenly approached Mr Lester’s home last Thursday night to pick up his younger twin brothers, driving to Northeast 115 Street instead of Northeast 115th Terrace, which is one block away.

After Ralph rang the doorbell, Mr Lester shot him twice – once in the forehead and once in the arm. No words were exchanged before the homeowner opened fire with a .32 revolver, prosecutors said.

Mr Lester has not denied shooting the boy, telling authorities he believed he was protecting himself from a confrontation. Prosecutors have said that Ralph “did not cross the threshold” of Mr Lester’s home.

Police initially detained Mr Lester for questioning and released him without charges, sparking protests throughout Kansas City on Sunday.

On Monday, prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced Mr Lester had been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

If convicted, Mr Lester could face life in prison.

 

Ralph’s mother Cleo Nagbe told CBS News her son had returned home from hospital, surrounded by a team of medical professionals.

He is expected to recover, Ms Nagbe said, stunning his own doctors.

Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the Yarl family, told the BBC that Ralph was suffering from speech problems and had a long road to recovery.

“I think he’s an amazing kid,” said Mr Merritt, adding that the boy was surprised by all the attention the case has been getting.

“It’s a big deal because the community is tired of their children being victimised and Ralph will make the change,” said Mr Merritt.

The lawyer said the family was not upset that Mr Lester had not been charged with attempted murder.

“I don’t want to create a higher burden for prosecutors to meet,” said Mr Merritt. “I want him to be locked away for the rest of his life and so these charges are sufficient.”

Hundreds of protesters held a rally outside the local court on Tuesday where many denounced the suspect’s bail.

Donna Camargo (R) and Anna Donigan (L) attended a protest on Tuesday outside the local court

“I’m angry Lester’s been released on bail,” 17-year-old Donna Camargo told the BBC.

“Even more angry he was taken into custody at the time of the incident and went home – was able to sleep in his bed while Ralph was fighting for his life in the hospital.”

A GoFundMe account set up to pay for Ralph’s medical recovery has raised more than $3m (£2.4m) as of Tuesday.

 

 

Credit: By Max Matza
BBC News

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