Grandson of Man Who Shot Black Teen Calls 84-Year-Old Grandfather 'Racist'

In an interview with CNN, the grandson of the man who shot Black teen Ralph Yarl after he rang the wrong doorbell has said his grandfather is racist.

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In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, the grandson of the man who shot Black teen Ralph Yarl after he rang the wrong doorbell has said his 84-year-old grandfather is racist.

Klint Ludwig said he was “disgusted” when he heard his grandfather Andrew Lester shot Yarl in Kansas City last week. “Myself and my family stand with Ralph Yarl in seeking justice,” he said. “It’s a tragedy, it never should’ve happened.”

As for why he’s decided to speak out, Ludwig said he believes it’s “the right thing to do” because of America’s history with violence against unarmed Black people. “People need to speak out and not making any excuses for this type of behavior and violence,” he added.

Prosecutors in the case have argued there’s a racial component to the shooting, and Ludwig agrees. “I believe he holds racist tendencies and beliefs,” he said of his grandfather. “He’s just a stock American Christian male… The conspiracies and weird random racist things that they say. They’re just scared.” 

He suggested that people from his grandfather’s generation are caught up in “this 24-hour news cycle of fear and paranoia,” and that he would “sit and watch Fox News all day every day blaring in his living room.” Ludwig said the news cycle of right-wing media outlets contributes towards “negative view[s] of minority groups” and “reinforces and galvanizes racist people in their beliefs.” Ludwig distanced himself from his grandfather because of his embrace of conspiracy theories, including QAnon and election denial. 

In comments provided to NBC News, Ludwig also criticized the Kansas City police department failure to act sooner. "I blame KCPD for failing to act the day of," said Ludwig, who added that he’s “glad that the backlash to their inaction has led to charges.”

“It is not easy to see someone I was close with make such a terrible mistake, but I will apply my convictions evenly and denounce what he's done in the strongest terms,” he said.

16-year-old Yarl was shot twice after he mistakenly rang Lester’s doorbell last week when he went to pick up his siblings. He suffered gunshot wounds to his head and arm. An arrest warrant was issued less than a week later, and Lester turned himself in to authorities shortly after. On Wednesday, Lester pleaded not guilty and was released on $200,000 bail. 

A fundraiser for Yarl has garnered over $3.3 million amid the growing outrage over the shooting. In a recent update, his family has confirmed that he’s now at home recovering with his family. “He can ambulate and communicate. A true miracle considering what he survived,” reads the update. “He has a long road ahead. However, we are very thankful that he is still here with us. I've been taking the time to read the emails and comments to Ralph. It warms our hearts to see him smile at all the kind words."

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