Ralph Yarl shooting – update: Suspect Andrew Lester released from jail again as GoFundMe for teen tops $3m
Ralph Yarl: Prosecutors charge Kansas City homeowner for shooting teen
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office announced that the 84-year-old had “surrendered” at a detention centre just before 1.30pm local time Tuesday – more than 20 hours after charges were filed against him. Just after 3pm, reports emerged that he had posted $200,000 bond.
Prosecutors allege that the white homeowner twice shot 16-year-old Ralph, who is recovering at home after being released from the hospital.
Mr Lester told investigators that he had just lain down when the doorbell rang, he picked up a .32 pistol and opened the interior door of his house.
He told police that he saw a Black male pulling on the exterior door and thought he was trying to break into the property. He claimed he was “scared to death” at the boy’s size and feared he was unable to defend himself given his elderly age, the documents state.
Several celebrities including Viola Davis, Halle Berry and Chrissy Teigen have joined in the outrage, speaking out about the case on social media. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe to help Ralph with medical costs has now topped $2.9m.
Andrew Lester’s home was surrounded by security cameras
Andrew Lester’s home was surrounded by security cameras when he shot Black teenager Ralph Yarl in the head, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Officers arrived on the scene at around 9.52pm on Thursday night to reports of a shooting and found the 16-year-old with gunshot wounds.
After being directed to a home where neighbours believed the shooting took place, they found Mr Lester standing inside his house with the glass storm door shattered from the bullets.
The officer noted in the documents that there were cameras on the south and east side of the home.
However, the cameras did not capture what happened as the system was “no longer functional”.
In fact, the last footage captured on the cameras was back on 25 June 2022.
What happened to Ralph Yarl?
Ralph Yarl found himself lying in a hospital bed with gunshot wounds to the left forehead and right arm.
Harrowing photos showed the Black teenager with tubes coming out of him and his head and right arm wrapped up in bandages.
He is alive but his family says he has a long road to recovery ahead – a recovery that threatens to derail his dreams of going off to college to pursue a career in engineering.
So how did he end up here?
The Independent’s Rachel Sharp reports:
A Black teenager went to pick up his younger brothers from a friend’s house, accidentally rang the doorbell at the wrong address and was shot twice by a white homeowner. Now, protesters, celebrities and civil rights figures are demanding justice. Rachel Sharp reports
Ralph Yarl’s mother describes son’s injuries from shooting
VOICES: The Ralph Yarl shooting must be a wake up call
In a new column for The Independent, Michael Arceneaux delves into the frustrating question of why the man who allegedly shot Ralph Lester still has yet to be taken into custody.
“I have been fortunate enough to have visited Kansas City because of my books. It is a lovely city with a booming Black arts scene and good BBQ. Yet, I did notice during my time there – and was frequently stressed to me as it so often is, particularly in certain parts of America – how segregated the city remains and how much racism permeates,” he writes.
“What happened to Ralph Yarl and what has happened since then speaks to that division – and how violent and unjust it remains.
“When an old white man shoots a Black child for ringing his doorbell, some alarm bells ought to go off – especially for those responsible for prosecuting crimes.
“Lester was indeed taken into custody after the shooting and placed on a 24-hour hold. As mandated by state law, a person suspected of a felony must be charged under that period or be released. Everything about this screams crime and racism yet it appears Lester was released after less than two hours.
“It took days and a national outcry including the likes of President Joe Biden and A-list celebrities like Halle Berry, Kerry Washington, Naomi Campbell and Gwyneth Paltrow, but days later, finally Lester was charged with two crimes in the April 13th shooting.”
Biden releases photo of call with Ralph Yarl
President Joe Biden released a photo of himself on the phone with Ralph Yarl on Tuesday afternoon.
“Last night, I had a chance to call Ralph Yarl and his family,” he wrote in the caption of a tweet.
“No parent should have to worry that their kid will be shot after ringing the wrong doorbell.
“We’ve got to keep up the fight against gun violence.And Ralph, we’ll see you in the Oval once you feel better.”
Yarl family attorney says Ralph did not pose a threat
“But far too often in America, his skin alone is his weapon,” lawyer Lee Merritt told KMBC. “It’s the weaponisation of blackness itself is really what we feel like this case is about.”
#RalphYarl family attorney Lee Merritt says the 16-year-old unarmed boy did not pose a threat.
What next for Andrew Lester?
Ralph Yarl shooting suspect Andrew Lester will be arraigned in Kansas City at 1.30pm CT on Wednesday 19 April.
Ralph Yarl’s classmates walkout of school in support
What charges is Andrew Lester facing?
On Monday afternoon, Clay County prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced that 84-year-old Andrew Lester had been charged with two felonies: assault in the first degree, which carries a punishment of 10 to 30 years or life imprisonment, and armed criminal action, which carries a punishment of 3 to 15 years.
However, when asked if Mr Lester could also be charged with a hate crime, the prosecutor said that it would not be possible under state law.
In Missouri, a hate crime is a lower level of felony and to add the charge would amount to double jeopardy, he said.
Mr Crump said in a statement: “While this is certainly a step in the right direction, we will continue to fight for Ralph while he works towards a full recovery.”
Mr Lester was finally booked into jail more than 20 hours after the charges were announced, having surrendered to authorities. He posted $200,000 bond soon after.
Andrew Lester released on bond, reports say
Andrew Lester has reportedly been released on bond just hours after being taken into custody.
Mr Lester’s bond was set at $200,000 when prosecutors filed charges against him on Monday afternoon.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office announced that he had surrendered and been booked into a detention centre just before 1.30pm local time on Tuesday.
Just after 3pm local time, reports emerged that he had already bonded out.