Black Teen Shot After Going to Wrong House Released from Hospital, Charges Filed Against Shooter

Andrew Lester, 85, is facing two felonies for the April 13 shooting of Ralph Yarl; if convicted, he could face life in prison

By Wendy Geller

ralph yarl


READ MORE: Court documents detail charges against Andrew Lester, man accused of shooting teenager Ralph Yarl

A Missouri man who allegedly shot a Black teenager who rang the wrong doorbell while trying to pick up his younger siblings has been charged with two felony counts.

Andrew Lester, 85, who is White, has been charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action in the Thursday shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson said Monday, according to KMBC News.

“I can tell you there was a racial component to this case,” Thompson said at a news conference, according to CNN. Thompson did not elaborate on what investigators uncovered.

If convicted, Lester could possibly spend life in prison, Thompson noted, explaining that felony assault in the first degree carries 10 to 30 years at a minimum, with a life sentence as the maximum.

A warrant is out for Lester’s arrest, but the has not been booked, CNN said. It’s unclear if Lester has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.

Andrew Lester provided by Kansas City police when he was booked into jail on April 13, 2023.


Yarl was released from the hospital on Monday, his attorney Ben Crump told CNN. Crump told the news channel the teen was still struggling from the stress of the ordeal, but that his family is happy he survived the shooting.

“He’s not out of the woods yet, but the great thing is, (medical officials) said he was stable enough to go to his home,” Crump said.

Yarl’s parents had asked the 16-year-old to pick up his siblings on Thursday at their friend’s house. A mixup as to which address he was expected at led him to the wrong home.

When he arrived at N.E. 115th St. in Kansas City, Mo., he pulled in the driveway and walked up to the front door to get his younger twin brothers. Yarl had no idea he had gone to the wrong house, however. He’d gone to N.E. 115th St. instead of N.E. 115th Terr., police said, Fox 4 reports.

He was then “shot in front of the residence by the homeowner,” Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said at a press conference Sunday.

Yarl, an honors student who was a section leader in his high school band and had dreams of attending Texas A&M University, was taken to a local hospital. Although he survived the shooting, he “has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally,” according to a GoFundMe started by his aunt.

Protesters have taken to social media – and to the streets – demanding “justice for Ralph” and carrying signs stating, “Ringing a doorbell is not a crime” and “The shooter should do the time,” according to KMBC, a CNN affiliate.

The shooting has resulted in a wave of outrage, with dozens of protesters gathered outside of the home of the man who shot Yarl demanding he is charged.

Celebrities including Halle Berry, Questlove, Justin Timberlake and others also weighed in.

“His name is #Ralph Yarl and I’m sick and tired of this feeling,” Berry wrote on Twitter. “My heart completely broke when I learned this precious 16-year-old, who accidentally rang the door of the wrong address in an attempt to pick up his siblings, was shot in the head.”

Questlove, who helped the Yarl family retain high-profile attorneys, Lee Merritt and Ben Crump, wrote, “I was a Ralph. We were all Ralph.”

“He’s a brilliant, talented, kind, outgoing 16 year old boy from a wonderful family who was shot twice by a white man when Ralph rang the doorbell to pick up his young siblings.

“A young Black boy HAS THE RIGHT to accidentally go to 115th Street instead of 115th Terrace WITHOUT BEING SHOT. Period.”

READ MORE: Court documents detail charges against Andrew Lester, man accused of shooting teenager Ralph Yarl

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