[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
The homeowner who’s accused of shooting Ralph Yarl will be charged with two felonies in the case.
As you will recall, we’ve been covering the awful story of Yarl, a 16-year-old high school student who was shot by a homeowner in Kansas City, Missouri late last Thursday. Yarl was shot after going to the wrong house by mistake while trying to pick up his twin brothers to bring them home to waiting family members.
Now, thankfully, charges are coming for the man who allegedly shot Ralph after the teen merely rang his doorbell.
According to CNN, Clay County prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced on Monday night that the homeowner involved in this incident will be charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. Cops have now issued a warrant for his arrest, as the man is not currently in custody. He was arrested and released after the incident happened late last week. But as of Monday evening, he has not yet been taken into custody again after these new charges.
That homeowner has also now been identified for the first time in the court documents related to these two felony charges. CNN and others report the alleged shooter is an 84-year-old White man named Andrew Lester (pictured above, in his initial arrest mugshot).
On Monday night, NPR Kansas City confirmed his identity but reported the man is 85 years old. Regardless, that outlet also noted the assault charge is a class A felony, meaning if Lester is found guilty of it, he faces “no fewer than 10 years and up to 30 years or life in prison.”
In a news conference about the incident, Thompson plainly and shockingly asserted there is more to the story than what has been reported in the media:
“I can tell you there was a racial component to this case. … My heart goes out to the child and family involved in this case. My goal during this process has been and will remain to be seeking justice for him.”
Per CNN, there is “no indication” Lester or Yarl ever spoke to each other before Thursday night’s shooting. The prosecutor also said there is no evidence the teen ever entered the home. All early indications are that he stayed on the front porch after ringing the doorbell when he mistakenly went up to the wrong house. The prosecutor claimed Lester aggressively “opened fire on the teen through a glass door.”
Per Thompson’s news conference, the shooting allegedly occurred with a .32 caliber revolver. Unfortunately for investigators, cops say there’s no Ring camera footage or other video of the encounter. Still, they felt they had enough to charge Lester with the two felonies based on several days of police work.
For now, the investigation will continue. Yarl family attorney Benjamin Crump released a statement to the national media about the felony charges:
“While this is certainly a step in the right direction, we will continue to fight for Ralph while he works towards a full recovery.”
Here is more on the case, via CBS News (below):
What an awful situation.
At least prosecutors did the right thing on this one — so far.
Let’s hope the cops track down this man quickly now that an arrest warrant has been issued so justice may be served…