84-year-old charged with felonies 4 days after shooting of Kansas City teen Ralph Yarl

An 84-year-old man has been charged in the shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced late Monday afternoon.

Andrew D. Lester faces charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action in the shooting Thursday in a Northland neighborhood. A warrant for his arrest issued Monday calls for him to be held on a $200,000 bond.

Thompson noted that the assault charge is a class A felony. If found guilty, Lester faces no less than 10 years and up to 30 years or life imprisonment.

The teen was shot after knocking on the wrong door where he had been sent to pick up his younger twin brothers, his family has said. The shooting has stoked national outrage with Vice President Kamala Harris as well as several celebrities weighing in.

The junior at Staley High School, who is Black, was allegedly shot in the head by the homeowner Lester, who is white. Lester allegedly shot Yarl again after he had fallen to the ground. Yarl got up and sought help at three homes before someone assisted him, family members said.

Lester was taken into custody and released.

Amid outrage and questions over the weekend about why Lester was released and not immediately charged, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said Sunday that investigators needed a formal statement from the victim, forensic evidence and other information for the case file to be completed.

She also said that authorities would consider whether the homeowner was protected by the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives people the right to use deadly force to protect themselves. According to the law, the use of force must be proportionate to the level of threat.

Yarl’s shooting prompted a protest Sunday as well as national attention from celebrities including Jennifer Hudson, Halle Berry and Justin Timberlake. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he hopes “the justice system does right by him.”

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said, “I can think of no justification for shooting a child multiple times for ringing the wrong doorbell—and we as a society ought to think very carefully about whether or not that is the world we want to live in.”

Yarl was released from the hospital Sunday and was recovering at home, his father, Paul Yarl, said Monday morning.

Kansas City police sent the investigative case file to prosecutors Monday.

After the charges were announced, Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a text message he was “relieved to see this first step towards justice for Ralph Yarl with today’s felony charges.”


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