After outrage from many in the black community, a local prosecutor announced charges against a white man who shot a black teenager in the head after he went to the wrong home looking for relatives.
The incident unfolded on Thursday evening in Kansas City, Missouri, just before 10 p.m.
Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson said that the suspect, 85-year-old Andrew D. Lester, would face two felony charges related to the shooting.
“My heart goes out to the child and family involved in this case,” Thompson added.
Lester faces one felony count of assault in the first degree and one felony count of armed criminal action.
Thompson said that Lester allegedly shot through his glass door at 16-year-old Ralph Yarl and that the teenager had never entered the man’s home. Yarl was shot twice, once in the head and once in the arm.
Lester reportedly told police he feared for his life and had armed himself with his .32 caliber Smith & Wesson when Yarl rang his doorbell looking for his relatives.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Yarl family, said that President Joe Biden had spoken to them by phone before the charges were announced.
“Gun violence against unarmed Black individuals must stop. Our children should feel safe, not as though they are being hunted,” Crump said.
Thompson said in his statement that he believed there was a “racial component” to the shooting.
“In Clay County, we enforce the laws and we follow the laws,” said Thompson, “and it does not matter where you come from, or what you look like, or how much money you have, everyone is held to the same standard.”
Lester had been released within 24 hours of the shooting, and there is now a warrant for his arrest, with a bond of $200,000.
Yarl’s father said his son had been released from the hospital and was recuperating at home.
“Our office worked closely with the Kansas City Police Department on this case, and we would not be here today but for their hard work,” Thompson added. “We understand how frustrating this has been, but I can assure you the criminal justice system is working and will continue to work.”
If Lester is convicted, he faces a possible sentence of life in prison.
Here’s more about the Kansas City shooting:
84-year-old man charged Ralph Yarl shooting in Kansas Citywww.youtube.com
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