Teen shot by man after going to the wrong house

April 18, 2023

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

Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson. A teenage boy was shot by a homeowner when he rang the doorbell thinking it was a family friend’s house. Thompson announced two charges made against the homeowner.

Who: Ralph Yarl, 16 years old and black, was shot by Andrew Lester, 84 years old and white.

What: Yarl intended to pick up his two younger brothers from a friend’s house and approached the wrong house. Upon ringing the doorbell, Lester shot Yarl in the forehead then again in the arm. There were no words exchanged leading up to the shooting, according to the probable cause statement. Yarl ran to other houses until someone called an ambulance. He spent three days in the hospital before returning home for recovery.

When: Thursday, April 13, 2023, at about 10:00 pm.

Where: A residential neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri. Lester’s home was about a block away from the house Yarl intended to pick his siblings up from.

Why: Lester told authorities he was in bed when he heard the doorbell. Upon getting up, he thought a “‘6 feet tall’ Black man was trying to open his storm door,” and he proceeded to open fire (The Washington Post). In a news conference, Thompson stated there was a “racial component,” but the charging documents do not say the shooting was racially motivated.

Charges: Lester has been charged with first-degree assault, which has a potential penalty of life in prison, as well as armed criminal action, which carries a penalty of three to 15 years in prison; both counts are felonies. An arrest warrant has been issued but as of Monday night, Lester was not yet in custody. Note: Missouri, including about 30 other states, has a “Stand Your Ground” law allowing for use of deadly force in cases of self-defense. However, “the prosecutor determined the shooting was not in self defense” (The Associated Press).

‘Racial component’ in shooting of Ralph Yarl who went to wrong house, prosecutor says (The Associated Press)

What to know about the shooting of Ralph Yarl, who went to the wrong house (The Washington Post)

by Jenna Lee,