Ralph Yarl: 84-year-old White man charged in shooting of Black teen

Prosecutors finally announced an 84-year-old White man in Kansas City, Missouri will face assault charges for shooting a 16-year-old Black boy who approached a house he went to by mistake while trying to pick up his two younger brothers.

Andrew Lester (Credit: Kansas City Police Department)
Andrew Lester (Credit: Kansas City Police Department)

Andrew Lester, of Kansas City, Missouri, was charged with first-degree assault on Monday, Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson announced at a news conference.

The shooting happened Thursday night around 10 p.m. Ralph Yarl, an honors student, was picking up his brothers when he approached the wrong house where Lester lived. Lester came to the door and shot Ralph twice — once in the forehead, and again in the right forearm.

Reportedly, nothing was said between the two before the shooting, but as Ralph began to run away, he heard Lester yell, “Don’t come around here.” He ran to multiple homes for help until someone was willing to call the police, according to the probable cause statement.

At the news conference, Thompson admitted there was a “racial component” to the shooting that hospitalized Ralph. Thompson also said there was no information in the initial charging documents stated the shooting was racially motivated.

The announcement came after many in the community expressed outrage because police didn’t immediately charge the man.

Ralph is recovering at home after being released from the hospital.

The first-degree assault charge carries a potential sentence of up to life in prison. Lester was also charged with armed criminal action, which comes with a possible sentence of three to 15 years in prison.

Lester was not charged with a hate crime. According to Thompson, Missouri’s statute carries a lesser penalty than first-degree assault.

A rally in support of Ralph is expected to be held Tuesday night in Kansas City.

More about the investigation and Ralph’s recovery can be found here.

, , , , , ,