Biography of Ralph Yarl
Ralph Yarl is a young black teenager who was shot and wounded after ringing the doorbell of the wrong house in Kansas City, Missouri.
According to his family, on April 13, 2023, Ralph, a high school student, was on his way to pick up his twin brothers from a friend’s house after school. He had never been to this neighborhood before and was confused by the houses that looked alike.
Yarl ended up ringing the doorbell of a house that belonged to Andrew D. Lester, an 84-year-old white man. Lester, who was armed with a handgun, opened the door and saw Yarl standing on his porch. Without warning or provocation, he fired three shots at Yarl, hitting him twice in the head and once in the arm.
Yarl managed to escape and collapsed on a nearby lawn. Lester then returned inside his house and barricaded himself for several hours until he surrendered to the police.
Yarl was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery. He survived the shooting and was released from hospital on Sunday April 17. He is now recovering at home with his family, who say they are traumatized by the ordeal.
Age of Ralph Yarl
Yarl turns 16 in 2023.
Ralph Yarl Parents
Yarl’s parents emigrated to the United States from Liberia. Yarl is described by her friends and family as an academically gifted student who is interested in music. He plans to study chemical engineering at Texas A&M University.
Ralph Yarl School
Yarl is a student at Staley High School. He is a high school student.
Ralph Yarl GoFundMe
Yarl’s aunt, Faith Spoonmore, posted a GoFundMe page that received over $3.5 million. Here is the link.
Ralph Yarl shooter arrested
Yarl’s shooter was identified as Andrew Lester. Andrew was taken into custody in the early hours of April 14, but no charges were initially brought against him. He was released after a short period in police custody and listed as “out of custody” and “general release” on the same day.
On April 17, the Clay County, Missouri district attorney’s office said it had not received a criminal referral from the Kansas City Police Department regarding the shooting. Later that day, it was announced that Lester would be charged with first-degree assault and felony action with a weapon, which is the state equivalent of attempted murder in Missouri.
The district attorney said there was a “racial component” to the case. However, Assistant Prosecutor Alexander Higginbotham clarified there was no racial element to the charges against him. Legal experts have speculated that a hate crime charge would have carried a lower maximum sentence than the charges.
Lester surrendered to authorities on April 18 and was released on bail later that day. He told police he believed the victim, Yarl, was trying to break in and was “scared to death” of his height.
If convicted, Lester faces 10 years to life in prison.
The shooting of Ralph Yarl sparked widespread outrage and condemnation from civil rights activists, politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens. Many have compared it to other cases of racial profiling and gun violence against black people in America, such as; Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
Protesters marched in Kansas City and other cities across the country demanding justice for Yarl and calling for an end to racism and gun violence. They held signs reading “Black Lives Matter”, “Stop Killing Us”, “Justice for Ralph” and “Ban Assault Weapons”.
Debate over racial justice and gun reform
The shooting of Ralph Yarl has reignited the debate over racial justice and gun reform in America. Many people argued that the incident was motivated by racism and that Lester targeted Yarl because he was black. They also pointed out that Lester was able to legally own multiple firearms despite his history of mental illness and domestic violence.
Many people have called for tougher background checks, red flag laws, assault weapons bans and other measures to stop people like Lester from getting guns. They also demanded accountability and transparency from the police and the judiciary in handling cases involving racial bias and excessive force.
Others defended Lester’s right to self-defense and argued that he acted out of fear and confusion when he saw an unknown person on his property. They also wondered if race played a role in the filming and if Lester knew or cared about Yarl’s skin color.
Others also opposed any new restrictions on gun ownership and argued that law-abiding citizens should be able to protect themselves from intruders and criminals.
Some have argued that gun control laws will only disarm law-abiding citizens while leaving criminals armed. They also accused protesters of exploiting the Yarl tragedy for political gain and inciting violence and vandalism.
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