Andrew Lester, man charged in shooting of Black teen Ralph Yarl, is in custody

The man charged in the shooting of a Black teen who went to the wrong house while trying to pick up his siblings last week has surrendered to law enforcement and is in custody, according to authorities.

Andrew Lester, 84, was in the process of being booked Tuesday afternoon, said Sarah Boyd, public relations manager at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri.

Lester, the White homeowner accused of shooting Ralph Yarl, has been charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action, according to the Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson. The maximum punishment for the assault charge is life in prison, the prosecutor said. The range of punishment for armed criminal action is between 3-15 years.

Thompson said Monday at a press conference that “there was a racial component to the case,” though he did not elaborate.

A booking photo of Andrew Lester from April 18. 

Kansas City Police Department

Ralph was meant to pick up his brothers from a friend’s house on 115th Terrace, but he ended up ringing the doorbell at a home on 115th Street instead. Lester opened the door, saw Ralph and allegedly shot him in the head. When Ralph fell to the ground, Lester allegedly shot him again.

Ralph got up and ran from the property, but he had to ask at three different homes before someone helped him, Faith Spoonmore, the teenager’s aunt, wrote online.

According to court records, Lester told police “it was the last thing he wanted to do, but was ‘scared to death’ due to the male’s size and Lester’s age (84) and inability to defend himself.”

President Biden spoke with Ralph’s family on Monday evening, the White House confirmed, and offered his prayers for the teenager’s recovery, according to a statement from Ralph’s attorneys. 

Cleo Nagbe, Ralph’s mother, told “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday that her son sustained gunshot wounds to his upper right arm and left frontal lobe above his left eye. She said the bullet in his head was not removed for up to 12 hours, and that the “residual effect” of that injury is going to stay with her son “for quite a while.”

Ralph Yarl in undated family photo.

Faith Spoonmore GoFundMe page

Ralph is able to communicate “when he feels like it,” she said, but “mostly he just sits there and stares and the buckets of tears just rolls down his eyes.”

“You can see that he is just replaying the situation over and over again. And that just doesn’t stop my tears either, because when you see your kid just sits there and constantly he just— tears are just rolling from both sides of his eyes, there’s nothing you can say to him,” Nagbe said.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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