Kansas City homeowner charged in shooting of Black teenager surrenders to police

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

An 84-year-old white man charged in the shooting and wounding of a Black teenager who mistakenly walked up to the suspect’s house in Kansas City has surrendered to police, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday.

Andrew Lester had been charged a day earlier with first-degree assault - which could bring a sentence of life in prison - for shooting Ralph Yarl, 16, on the doorstep of his suburban home around 10 p.m. last Thursday.

The teen had walked up to Lester’s house to pick up his younger siblings, who were at a nearby house with a similar address.

Lester was also charged with armed criminal action, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“Andrew Lester, charged in the shooting of Ralph Yarl, has surrendered at our Detention Center. He is in custody,” the Clay County Sheriff said on Twitter.

Bond for Lester was set at $200,000.

“I can tell you there was a racial component to the case,” Thompson said, without elaborating during a news conference to announce the charges.

Prosecutors have not filed hate crime charges, which carry lesser penalties in Missouri than the two counts which Lester faces, Thompson added.

Lester fired two shots through a glass door with a .32-caliber revolver, the prosecutor said. Yarl, who was struck in the head and an arm, did not cross the threshold, Thompson said, adding it did not appear any words were exchanged in the encounter.

But Yarl told police in an interview at the hospital where he was treated that the man told him, “Don’t come around here,” local media reported, citing court documents.

The teen was recovering at home on Monday, his family said.

Lester was initially taken into custody, placed on a 24-hour investigative hold, then released pending an interview with Yarl and the collection of forensic evidence, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said.

His release helped fuel two days of protests. Demonstrators gathered again on Monday at the suspect’s single-story house on a tree-lined street, shouting “Black lives are under attack” and “Stand up, fight back,” online videos showed.

Missouri has a “stand your ground” law that allows homeowners to use physical force to defend themselves against suspected intruders.

The law says a person cannot use deadly force unless they reasonably believe it is necessary to protect themselves or another person against death or serious physical injury, or a possible felony.

Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Yarl’s family, said on Tuesday the “stand your ground” law would only protect a homeowner if the person had been threatened.

“The law doesn’t protect him under these circumstances,” Merritt said in a CNN interview.

“There’s no way you can see fear when you look at that kid,” his aunt Faith Spoonmore said in the same interview. “In this country, from decades - hundreds of years - of conditioning, we’ve decided that Black and criminal is almost synonymous.”

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Read more:

At least 20 people shot and wounded at 16th birthday party in Alabama: Report

Police shoot homeowner after responding to wrong address in US

US shooting kills 14-year-old girl, five wounded

Top Content Trending