Homeowner charged with shooting teenager who went to the wrong house in Kansas City


Andrew Lester is 84 years old. An earlier version of this article contained incorrect information. 

An 84-year-old white man who shot a Black teen at his front door in Kansas City, Missouri has been charged with armed assault in a case that has spawned protests and community outrage, the Clay County prosecutor said Monday.

Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson said at a news conference that there was a “racial component” to the incident last Thursday night in which Andrew Lester twice shot 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, who is recovering at home after being released Sunday from the hospital. But nothing in the charging documents says the shooting was racially motivated, Thompson clarified. 

“We understand how frustrating this has been but I can assure the criminal justice system is working and will continue to work,” Thompson said.

Protesters gathered Sunday in Kansas City after a homeowner shot and injured the teen who family members said went to the wrong house.

Yarl, 16, was shot twice and hospitalized in critical condition Thursday, attorneys Ben Crump and S. Lee Merritt, who have been retained by Yarl's family, said in a statement Sunday.

On Monday, President Joe Biden spoke by phone to Yarl and shared his hope for a swift recovery, the White House reported.

The homeowner was placed on a 24-hour investigative hold and released pending further investigation, Kansas City police chief Stacey Graves said at a news conference Sunday.

"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 door," Crump and Merrit said. "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."

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