Man, 85, charged with the shooting of teen who knocked on the wrong door

An 85-year-old man has been charged with shooting a teenager in the head after the boy went to the wrong house to pick up his younger brothers.

Ralph Yarl, 16, was rushed to hospital following the attack which happened at about 10 PM on Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri. The boy was forced to knock on three different doors before someone finally helped him. He survived the incident and was released from the hospital on Sunday.

Now, police are saying there may have been a “racial component” to the near-deadly incident that saw 84-year-old Andrew Lester – a white man – should the Black teenager.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said in a news conference on Sunday: “The information that we have now, it does not say that that is racially motivated. That’s still an active investigation. But as a chief of police, I do recognize the racial components of this case.”
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Credit: GoFundMe

Graves added: “We recognize the frustration this can cause in the entire criminal justice process. The women and men of the Kansas City Police Department are working as expeditiously and as thoroughly as we can, to ensure the criminal justice process continues to advance as quickly as all involved and our community deserve.”

Per BBC News, Lester has been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

The man is accused of shooting the youngster in his head and his arm, but he has not been charged with a hate crime. Charging documents do not make any reference to the alleged racial component.

At a press conference on Monday, Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson said: “My message to the community is that, in Clay County, we enforce the laws and we follow the laws. That doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like or how much money you have.”

Lester had initially been detained for questioning by police and was then let go, which led to protests throughout the city on Sunday.

An attorney for the family, Lee Merritt, told NBC News: “[Yarl] heard rustling around going on in the house and then finally the door was open. And he was confronted by a man who told him, ‘Don’t come back around here,’ and then he immediately fired his weapon.”

Lester told law enforcement, per local outlet KMBC, that he thought was Yarl was trying to break into his home and fired two shots through his door. A witness told the outlet that he heard the youngster “screaming that he had been shot”.

In a GoFundMe set up by Yarl’s aunt, he was described as a “fantastic kid”. She has managed to raise a staggering $2,633,470 for her nephew at the time of writing.

Spoonmore wrote in the fundraiser’s description: “Life looks a lot different right now. Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally. The trauma that he has to endure and survive is unimaginable. He is our miracle.

“We have heard these types of stories many times, and unfortunately, most black boys are not alive to get another chance. Ralph deserves to have the future that he has dreams about. He deserves to be the light that shows the world that LOVE wins and that humanity is still Good. However, he will need a lot of help to get there.”

She also explained that the money raised would be used for his medical bills and therapy.

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