It has been less than a week since Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager in Kansas City, Mo., was sent on a seemingly mundane errand to pick up his younger brothers, wound up at the wrong address and was shot by a white homeowner.
Since then, Ralph has been released from the hospital. and protests in the city and online have grown, calling on law enforcement officials to act.
On Monday, the authorities submitted the case to the Clay County prosecuting attorney’s office, and officials publicly identified the man who shot Ralph as Andrew D. Lester, 84. He was charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. The prosecutor, Zachary Thompson, said what many already believed: “There was a racial component to the case.”
Here’s what we know, and don’t know, about the shooting.
On Thursday evening, Ralph was sent to pick up his younger twin brothers at a friend’s house. He mixed up the address and went to Northeast 115 Street instead of Northeast 115th Terrace, which is one block away.
Mr. Lester answered the door, the authorities said, and shot the 16-year-old in the forehead and in the right arm. Afterward, Ralph made his way to another nearby house for help.
It’s not clear if the teenager had knocked on Mr. Lester’s door or if he rang the doorbell. However, Mr. Thompson, the prosecutor, said that Ralph did not “cross the threshold” into the home and that shots were fired through a glass door from a .32-caliber handgun. There was no indication that “any words were changed,” Mr. Thompson said.
Mr. Lester was taken into custody by the police for 24 hours and was released without charges on Friday.
Ralph is expected to recover.
Paul Yarl, Ralph’s father, told The New York Times on Monday that his son, an athlete who loves music and video games, had surgery over the weekend to remove the bullets and was able to walk out of the hospital on Sunday. He is expected to make full recovery.
Ralph is expected to give a formal statement to investigators when his injuries allow.
What do we know about the shooter?
Not a lot. Although Mr. Lester was released from custody on Friday, he was not charged until Monday, after protests and anger spread in the community.
At the time when charges were announced against Mr. Lester, he was not in custody. Mr. Thompson, the prosecutor, said that a warrant had been issued for his arrest and that bail had been set at $200,000.
“I don’t have any information regarding his specific whereabouts,” he said, “but it’s my understanding law enforcement is aware of the situation and taking all appropriate action.”
What has been said about case?
The White House said on Monday that President Biden had spoken to Ralph by phone and that he had “shared his hope for a swift recovery.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City, who is Black, told The Times on Monday that he was “heartbroken and angry about the situation.”
“You’ve heard about driving while Black,” Mr. Lucas said. “You’ve heard about all the other issues that Black people confront in life. Can you not knock on the door while Black? It’s almost like you can’t exist.”
After charges were announced against Mr. Lester on Monday, Ben Crump and S. Lee Merritt, lawyers representing the victim’s family, said in a statement that gun violence against unarmed Black individuals must stop.
“Our children should feel safe, not as though they are being hunted,” they said. “While this is certainly a step in the right direction, we will continue to fight for Ralph while he works toward a full recovery.”
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