Man Charged With Fatal Shooting of Ralph Yarl After Mistakenly Going to Wrong House Now that I have a good title, I’ll need to start writing my article. Here is the outline I will use:

by Ryan Lee
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Monday, an 84-year-old white man in Kansas City, Missouri was charged with something very serious called “first-degree assault”. This happened because the man shot a Black teen who had come to his house mistakenly thinking it was their younger brothers’ place.

Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson said at a news conference that 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot by Andrew Lester on Thursday night and there may have been some racial reasons behind it. But details about the shooting show that it wasn’t racially motivated, Thompson explained.

Thompson also said, “We understand how upsetting this has been, but I promise you that the legal system is doing its job properly.”

The shooting of Yarl caused a huge distress to people in Kansas City as well as across the entire U.S., leading political tops such as President Joe Biden to seek for justice for what happened. People noted that this case holds a racial issue behind it and attorneys representing Yarl carried out initiatives regarding the matter.

Yarl, being an outstanding student and part of the state band, was meant to pick up his two small brothers one night when he arrived at the wrong address. The occupant there, named Lester, came out then shot Yarl in both his forehead and right forearm.

No one said anything before it happened – the shooting. But afterwards, as Yarl was getting up to leave, he heard Lester shouting, “Don’t come around here.”

Yarl ran to many houses asking for help until someone finally agreed to call the police.

The Rev. Vernon Howard and the Vice President Kamala Harris expressed their sadness after the terrible shooting of Yarl. Mr. Howard said it was a “horrible” crime, while Ms. Harris tweeted that no child should be in fear of being shot for knocking on someone’s door. The Missouri Senate even took time to remember Yarl, by having a moment of silence in his honor.

The lawyers representing Yarl’s family, Ben Crump and Lee Merritt, said that former Vice President Biden called the family to offer his prayers. They also encouraged everyone to stop gun violence against Black people so kids can feel safe. In addition, Yarl’s supporters are planning a rally on Tuesday in Kansas City.

Lester faces a tough punishment of possibly spending the rest of his life in jail because he was charged with assault. He also had to face an additional charge due to him using a weapon, called “armed criminal action,” which carries a lighter sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Even though this is serious, Lester was not given a punishment connected to any hate crime charges. This means his penalty won’t be as severe as others have faced in similar cases.

Missouri is a state which has a law called “Stand Your Ground.” This means that people are allowed to use deadly force if they feel like they are protecting themselves. However, in this case, the prosecutor decided that the shooting was not done in self-defense but an arrest warrant was still issued. Despite this, Lester wasn’t taken into custody yet.

Lester told police that he was in bed when he heard his doorbell. He got his gun and went to the door, where he saw a Black man trying to open the storm door handle. We don’t know if Lester has an attorney or not yet.

Yarl was shot in a middle-class neighborhood of north Kansas City. He didn’t have his phone with him so he ended up going to the wrong place – this is according to his aunt, Faith Spoonmore. To help him pay his medical bills, she put together a GoFundMe page where people raised over one million dollars by Monday afternoon.

The Police Chief, Stacey Graves said that Yarl’s parents told asked him to go and pick up his brothers from 115th Terrace, but he went to the wrong block – 115th Street instead – as reported by The Kansas City Star.

Yarl is a really talented musician! He was mentioned in the Missouri All-State Band and plays instruments for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Kansas City. The North Kansas City School District said he is an amazing student and musician. Even though Yarl is doing okay physically, it will take him some time to heal emotionally from what happened to him.

By Monday afternoon, the house where the shooting occurred had been vandalized. Someone sprayed a big heart with “16” in it on the side of the house. There were also lots of eggs on the front windows and door.

No one answered when someone asked for a comment from Governor Mike Parson, who is a strong supporter of gun rights.

Ben Crump, who once helped the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd after they were killed by police officers, was asking why the shooter at the doorbell wasn’t arrested. He said that if it was a Black person shooting someone for only pushing their doorbell then they would have been taken away right away instead of sleeping in their bed.

Two days after Yarl was shot, a woman aged 20 was killed in Upstate New York by a homeowner. She had been in a car with three others searching for her friend’s home when the car started to turn back. The homeowner, Kevin Monahan, then stepped out and fired two shots; one of these bullets hit the woman. He has now been charged with second-degree murder.

The news report was done by Salter, who was in O’Fallon, Missouri. Nick Ingram and Summer Ballentine provided help for the report from Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri respectively.

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