On April 13, 2023, 16-year-old black teen Ralph Yarl gets shot twice by 84-year-old white man Andrew Lester for ringing the wrong doorbell. He was shot once in the head, which knocked him to the ground, and then once in the arm, all for trying to pick up his younger siblings and arriving at the wrong house.
Lester will face charges of assault in the first degree and armed criminal action, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Instead of going to 115th Terrace to pick up his twin brothers Thursday night, Yarl showed up at Lester’s home on 115th Street at 10 p.m.
Evidence shows Lester shot the teen through a glass door with a .32 caliber revolver. Because he claimed to have been “scared to death” by Yarl’s size and his inability to defend himself at age 84, thinking Yarl was attempting to break in. He said he saw Yarl pulling on the storm door handle, which Yarl disputes.
Lester had just gotten in bed when he heard the doorbell, so since we live in a society that enables gun violence, he grabbed his revolver before going to the door and, without saying a word, fired twice. Yarl told the police he fled as the homeowner yelled, “Don’t come around here,”
His family said that after he was shot and went running, he begged for help at “multiple” homes when finally, a neighbor yelled at him to get on the ground and put his hands in the air. The wounded kid complied. That’s when James Lynch, a separate neighbor who heard the commotion, came running, hopped a fence, and got down next to the teenager, who he could tell was greatly wounded, and stayed with him until the paramedics arrived.
“Ralph Yarl is home and recovering! How the bullet in his head did not cause more extensive damage is truly a miracle. To God be the glory!” Lee Meritt, the family’s attorney, expressed on Twitter along with a picture of them both sitting outside.
Klint Ludwig, Lester’s grandson, who spoke out against his grandfather to CNN about the incident, says, “I believe he holds racist tendencies and beliefs.” Ludwig mentions that he had distanced himself from his grandfather before the incident. Lester’s belief in “Qanon level conspiracies” is one reason among many.
Legal experts say Lester’s lawyers will claim self-defense under Missouri’s “stand your ground” law, which allows for the use of deadly force if a person fears for their life. And a professor whose research focuses on gun policy and politics says the Missouri law provides “wide latitude for people to use lethal force.”