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News > U.S.

84 White Kansas Man Charged for Shooting Black Teen

  • Ralph Yarl and Andrew Lester. Apr. 18, 2023.

    Ralph Yarl and Andrew Lester. Apr. 18, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@ScallywagNYC

Published 18 April 2023

"...Ralph Yarl, 16 years old, was admitted to a medical facility with injuries to his head and right arm..."

On Monday, an 84-years-old white man in Kansas City, Missouri was indicted on a first-degree assault charge after purportedly shooting an African-American adolescent who had mistakenly arrived at the individual's house to retrieve his younger siblings.


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Andrew Lester, the octogenarian resident, has been charged with felony assault and armed criminal action in relation to an act of shooting. The victim, Ralph Yarl, 16 years old, was admitted to a medical facility with injuries to his head and right arm as a result of the incident. According to the testimony of Ralph Yarl's family, the sixteen-year-old had been endeavoring to collect his younger siblings at the time of his infliction with a gunshot wound.

During a press conference held on Monday, Zachary Thompson, the prosecutor for Clay County in Missouri, expounded upon the severity of the charges of armed criminal action and felony assault. Thompson elucidated that the former could result in a maximum penalty of 15 years, while the latter “carries with it a range of punishment of up to life.”

When queried regarding the decision not to indict the accused on charges of attempted murder or a hate crime offense, Thompson asserted to the press that the "A felony" category represented the pinnacle of wrongdoing in the state of Missouri. According to Thompson, the spectrum of consequences for various miscellaneous allegations may not be as extensive.

“I don’t want to litigate this case in the press. It’s been my goal from the very beginning to get justice for the child involved in the case. And I don’t want to jeopardize that by talking about the facts to the media,” he added.

Thompson did say, however, that “there was a racial component to the case”.

On the Monday, a warrant for his apprehension was issued. The bail amount for Lester was determined to be $200,000.

The legal team defending Yarl, consisting of civil rights lawyers Lee Merritt and Ben Crump, expressed their commendation for the criminal charges brought against their client via a statement released on social media after the filing. The team raised concerns regarding the timeliness of the filing of the charges, invoking the legal maxim that "justice delayed is justice denied".

“We are relieved that charges are finally moving forward, but are disappointed in the delay that necessitated national outcry for an obvious crime. We are cautiously optimistic about accountability and justice,” the lawyers wrote.

Additionally, it was conveyed that the President of the United States, Joe Biden, had extended his personal and heartfelt regards to Yarl's family, accompanied by fervent wishes for his timely recuperation. The Democratic administration has prioritized the promulgation of US gun laws reform within its political platform.

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