UPDATED: 4/19/23, 3:27 p.m. ET: Andrew Lester has pleaded not guilty and was released on $200,000 bail, NBC News reports.
UPDATED: 4/18/23, 3:27 p.m. ET: 84-year-old Andrew Lester has turned himself into authorities, NBC News reports.
“Andrew Lester, charged in the shooting of Ralph Yarl, has surrendered at our Detention Center and is in custody,” a statement from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office reads. “He is in the booking process right now.”
UPDATED: 4/17/23, 7:35 p.m. ET: The white octogenarian who shot Ralph Yarl, 16, has been charged with one count of felony assault in the first degree, and one count of armed criminal action, as reported by CNN.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 84-year-old Andrew Lester, who could face life in prison if convicted.
Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson said Monday that there was “a racial component to the case,” but didn’t elaborate any further. Thompson is currently unaware of eyewitnesses or the existence of footage pertaining to the incident. There also doesn’t appear to be evidence proving Yarl entered Lester’s home.
Thompson said Lester wasn’t charged with a hate crime because doing so could lead to an issue with double jeopardy, adding that the two charges are a higher class of felony.
See original story below.
Lawyers for the family of a Kansas City, Missouri teenager who was shot after accidentally ringing the wrong doorbell when picking up his younger siblings are calling for the arrest and prosecution of the shooter.
Per a report from regional outlet KSHB, 16-year-old Ralph Yarl had been asked by his parents last Thursday to pick up his siblings, at which point he “mistakenly ended up” at the wrong address. The teen was subsequently hospitalized and released on Sunday, per The Kansas City Star, who spoke to the boy’s father.
“He is alive and he is healing,” Yarl’s aunt, Dr. Faith Spoonmore, said when joining peaceful protesters on Sunday.
According to CNN, the teen was shot by a white man who is in his 80s.
Civil rights attorneys Lee Merritt and Ben Crump have now been retained by the victim and his family. In a press release issued over the weekend, the attorneys called for “swift action” with regards to holding the shooter accountable.
“There can be no excuse for the release of this armed and dangerous suspect after admitting to shooting an unarmed, non-threatening and defenseless teenager that rang his doorbell,” Merritt and Crump said in a joint statement. “We demand swift action from Clay County prosecutors and law enforcement to identify, arrest, and prosecute to the full extent of the law the man responsible for this horrendous and unjustifiable shooting.”
At a press conference on Sunday, Chief Stacey Graves of the Kansas City Police Department said the shooting in question took place on the evening of April 13.
“The teen was transported to a local hospital for his injuries,” Graves said. “The homeowner was taken into custody and placed on a 24-hour investigative hold. Detectives and crime scene personnel immediately responded, processed the scene, and recovered the firearm. After consulting with the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office, the homeowner was released pending further investigation due to the need to obtain a formal statement from the victim, forensic evidence, and compile additional information for a case file to be presented.”
Per Graves, state law allows for a 24-hour hold in felony investigations. After 24 hours, Graves said, individuals are required to be charged or released.
“In this case, the prosecutor requires more information from investigators that would take more than 24 hours to compile,” she said.
Complex has reached out to the offices of Merritt and Crump, as well as to a police rep, for additional comment. This story may be updated.
As highlighted by the attorneys on social media, a GoFundMe has been set up in support of the victim’s family.