Ralph Yarl: White homeowner charged in Kansas City shooting of Black teen

Kansas City, Missouri - The white homeowner accused of shooting Black 16-year-old Ralph Yarl has been charged with armed assault and armed criminal action.

Ralph Yarl is a high-school junior with a passion for music.
Ralph Yarl is a high-school junior with a passion for music.  © Collage: Lee Merritt/via REUTERS

A warrant was issued on Monday for the arrest of 85-year-old Andrew Lester after he allegedly opened fire when Yarl rang his doorbell last Thursday, shooting the teen once in the head and again as he lay wounded on the ground.

Yarl had been on his way to pick his siblings up from a playdate, but accidentally went to the wrong house. He and Lester reportedly didn't exchange any words before the gun owner fired.

Yarl is now recovering at home after being released from the hospital on Saturday.

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Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys representing the family, told The Guardian the teen had suffered a fractured skull, a traumatic brain injury with swelling, post-concussive syndrome, and injuries to his arm.

Ralph Yarl's family and attorneys demand accountability

Lee Merritt is one of the attorneys representing the Yarl family in their fight for accountability and justice.
Lee Merritt is one of the attorneys representing the Yarl family in their fight for accountability and justice.  © Montinique Monroe / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Protests erupted outside the shooter's home over the weekend when it came out police had released him without charges.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves explained in a press conference that law enforcement is only allowed to detain someone for 24 hours without charges, but Merritt said on Twitter that Lester had only been held for two hours before he was allowed to return home.

The Yarl family and their advocates have celebrated the news that Lester has finally been charged with a crime, but pointed out that it should not have taken so long to get to this point.

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"'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," Merritt said in a statement on Monday.

"Our children should feel safe, not as though they are being hunted. While this is certainly a step in the RIGHT direction, we will continue to fight for Ralph while he works towards a full recovery," Ben Crump, another attorney representing the family, added on Twitter.

A GoFundMe started by Yarl's aunt, Faith Spoonmore, has garnered more than $2.6 million in funds, which will go toward the teen's medical expenses, college tuition, and a trip to West Africa.

Cover photo: Collage: Lee Merritt/via REUTERS

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