US: Kansas City homeowner charged over shooting Black teen

A white man shot a 16-year-old who mistakenly went to the man's home to pick up his younger siblings

US: Kansas City homeowner charged over shooting Black teen
US: Kansas City homeowner charged over shooting Black teen


A 85-year-old white man in Kansas, Missouri was charged Monday with two felony counts after shooting a Black teenager who rang his doorbell.

Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson said at a news conference that there was a "racial component" to the incident Thursday night in which Andrew Lester twice shot 16-year-old Ralph Yarl.

Lester was charged with armed criminal action and first-degree assault, which carries up to a life sentence if convicted.

Hate crimes, which were not filed, carry lesser penalties in Missouri.

Yarl's parents had sent him to pick up his twin younger brothers, but he approached the wrong house.

According to the prosecutor, Lester came to the door, shot Yarl in the head, and then shot him in the arm.

Lester was detained last week but then released after about an hour. Thompson said an arrest warrant was issued on Monday, but Lester was not yet in custody.

"We understand how frustrating this has been, but I can assure you the criminal justice system is working and will continue to work," Thompson said.

Yarl recovering from two bullet wounds

Yarl survived the shooting and was recovering at home after being released from the hospital on Sunday.

His aunt, Faith Spoonmore, set up a GoFundMe page to help pay medical bills.

By Monday afternoon, more than $2 million (€2.1 million) had been raised.

Spoonmore said Yarl is "doing well physically" but has a lot of trauma to overcome emotionally.

Shooting has drawn national attention

The incident outraged many in Kansas City and across the country.

Black spray paint on the side of Lester's single-story house showed a heart with "16" in the middle. Eggs splattered the front windows and the door.

"No child should ever live in fear of being shot for ringing the wrong doorbell," Vice President Kamala Harris wrote on Twitter in response to the shooting.

The Missouri Senate held a moment of silence for Yarl on Monday.

Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney known for representing families in cases involving police brutality against Black people, is now working with Yarl's family.

Crump has been involved in several high-profile cases, including those of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery,Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

"We all believe that if the roles were reversed and this was a Black citizen who shot a 16-year-old for merely ringing his doorbell, they would have arrested him, and he wouldn't have slept in his bed that night," Crump said.

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