What We Know About the Ralph Yarl Shooting in Kansas City

The whereabouts of Andrew D. Lester, the man charged in the shooting of Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager, in Kansas City, Mo., remained unknown to the authorities on Tuesday, a day after he was charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action.

Mr. Lester, 84, was not in police custody on Tuesday morning, and the police were “working to bring him into custody,” Sgt. Jacob Becchina, a spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department, said in an email.

“He is a wanted person with a warrant for his arrest,” he said. “We would also welcome him at any of our detention facilities, and I know the Clay County Sheriffs (jail) would as well.”

Mr. Lester, who lives in a quiet neighborhood on the northern edge of Kansas City, is charged with shooting Ralph twice on Thursday night after the teenager stood on Mr. Lester’s front porch, having arrived at the wrong address to pick up his siblings.

On Monday, the authorities submitted the case to the Clay County prosecuting attorney’s office. The prosecutor, Zachary Thompson, said “there was a racial component to the case,” but declined to elaborate.

Here’s what we know, and don’t know, about the shooting.

On Thursday evening, Ralph was sent to pick up his younger twin brothers at a friend’s house. He mixed up the address and went to Northeast 115 Street instead of Northeast 115th Terrace, which is one block away.

Mr. Lester answered the door, the authorities said, and shot the 16-year-old in the forehead and in the right arm.

Mr. Thompson, the prosecutor, said that Ralph did not “cross the threshold” into the home and that shots were fired through a glass door from a .32-caliber handgun. There was no indication that “any words were exchanged,” Mr. Thompson said.

According to a criminal complaint filed on Monday, Mr. Lester told a police officer after the shooting that he saw a Black male “pulling on the exterior storm door handle,” and that he believed the person was attempting to break into his house. When interviewed by a detective, Ralph said that he only rang the doorbell and did not pull on the door.

A detective said that Ralph told him that after he was shot by Mr. Lester, “he got up and ran away to keep from being shot.”

In an interview with “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday, Cleo Nagbe, Ralph’s mother, described her son as still recovering from his injuries. “He got a couple of bullets in his body, instead of a couple of twins coming up, out and giving him a hug,” she said of the shooting.

Mr. Lester was initially taken into custody by the police and was released without charges on Friday.

Paul Yarl, Ralph’s father, told The New York Times on Monday that his son, an athlete who loves music and video games, had surgery over the weekend to remove the bullets and was able to walk out of the hospital on Sunday. He is expected to make full recovery.

In the CBS interview on Tuesday, Ralph’s mother, who works as a nurse, said her son was doing “considerably well” after being shot above his left eye and in his upper right arm.

One of the bullets was lodged in his head for up to 12 hours before it was removed. “The residual effect of that injury is going to stay with him for quite a while,” Ms. Nagbe said.

Ralph is expected to give a formal statement to investigators when his injuries allow.

Although Mr. Lester was released from custody on Friday, he was not charged until Monday, after protests and anger spread in the community.

Mr. Thompson, the prosecutor, said that a warrant had been issued for his arrest and that bail had been set at $200,000.

A booking photo provided by the Kansas City Police Department shows Andrew D. Lester on Thursday.Credit…Kansas City Police Department, via Associated Press

“I don’t have any information regarding his specific whereabouts,” he said, “but it’s my understanding law enforcement is aware of the situation and taking all appropriate action.”

It was not immediately clear if Mr. Lester had a lawyer.

In the CBS interview with Ralph’s mother, one of the lawyers representing the family, S. Lee Merritt, was asked whether he thought Mr. Lester’s age was a factor in the shooting.

“The fact that he’s 84 years old will be a consideration in terms of what he thought,” Mr. Merritt said. “But I’ll remind you the former president and current president of the United States is about that age as well.”

Mr. Merritt said that Mr. Lester had an opportunity to make an intentional decision but decided to shoot the boy.

The White House said on Monday that President Biden had spoken to Ralph by phone and that he had “shared his hope for a swift recovery.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City told The Times on Monday that he was “heartbroken and angry about the situation.”

“You’ve heard about driving while Black,” Mr. Lucas said. “You’ve heard about all the other issues that Black people confront in life. Can you not knock on the door while Black? It’s almost like you can’t exist.”

After charges were announced against Mr. Lester on Monday, Ben Crump and Mr. Merritt, lawyers representing the victim’s family, said in a statement that gun violence against unarmed Black individuals must stop.

“Our children should feel safe, not as though they are being hunted,” they said. “While this is certainly a step in the right direction, we will continue to fight for Ralph while he works toward a full recovery.”

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