The shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl in Kansas City, Missouri last week has sparked a community into action as protesters call for justice and the star clarinet player recovers at home. Now, the legal system is catching up with his assailant.
The Clay County Prosecutor’s Office held a press conference today (April 17) to give an update on where the case stands. The man who shot the teenager, a white man in his 80s named Andrew Lester, is facing two felony charges for assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. Prosecutor Zack Thompson revealed that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the elderly man.
“After a thorough review of the case file, the appropriate laws, and information gained during the investigation phase of the case, I filed two felony counts,” Thompson said. When asked why Lester wasn’t charged with attempted murder, the prosecutor explained that he’s being hit with the highest charge under Missouri law. “We understand how frustrating this has been but I can assure the criminal justice system is working and will continue to work,” he acknowledged. Watch the full press conference below.
The charges stem from a near-fatal confrontation in a Kansas City neighborhood last Thursday (April 13). Yarl’s mother asked the teenager to pick up his twin brothers at a friend’s house. He accidentally rang the doorbell at the wrong address, leading Lester to open the door and shoot the 16-year-old in the head. “‘Don’t come back around here,'” the gunman reportedly said before opening fire. He then fired another shot while the victim lay still on the ground.
Faith Spoonmore, Yarl’s aunt, told NBC News about her nephew’s grasp on the situation as he continues his recovery. “We’ll remind him like, ‘Ralph, you’re alive, buddy.’ And then he has the times where he’s like, ‘Why? I did nothing wrong. Why? I did nothing wrong.’ And he just cannot understand why,” she shared. “So it’s waves. He goes through waves.”
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