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Monday, September 25, 2023

Kansas City man charged for shooting Black teen through his front door: prosecutor

Charges were filed Monday against an elderly Kansas City, Missouri, man who shot through his front glass door at a Black teen last week, striking the victim twice, Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson announced. 

Andrew Lester, an 85-year-old White male, is facing one count of armed assault and one count of armed criminal action for shooting 16-year-old Ralph Yarl with a .32-caliber pistol around 10 p.m. Thursday. 

Yarl was released from the hospital Sunday and is recovering at home from gunshot wounds to his head and arm. 

Thompson said at a press conference Monday that “there was a racial component” to the shooting. 

“We understand how frustrating this has been, but I can assure you that the criminal justice system is working and will continue to work,” Thompson said. “As with any serious case, we approach this one in an objective and impartial manner.”

  • Ralph Yarl Image 1 of 2

    This undated photo provided by Ben Crump Law on Monday, April 17, 2023, shows Ralph Yarl, the teenager shot by a homeowner in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Ben Crump Law via AP)

  • Ralph Yarl Image 2 of 2

    Yarl was trying to pick up his younger brothers from a friend’s house when he accidentally went to the wrong home one block away.  (Ben Crump Law via AP)

Yarl’s aunt, Faith Spoonmore, wrote in a GoFundMe that her nephew was picking up his younger brothers at a friend’s house last Thursday evening and accidentally went to the wrong home one block away because he didn’t have his phone. 

Lester told police that he had just gone to bed when he heard his doorbell ring, so he picked up his gun and went to the door, according to the probable cause statement. He saw a Black male pulling at the exterior door handle and shot twice through the glass door because he thought his house was being broke into, the statement said. 


There’s no indication that Lester and Yarl exchanged any words, and no one else witnessed the shooting, the prosecutor said. 

There is also no home surveillance footage that recorded the encounter. 

Lester was not in custody as of Monday evening, but a warrant with a $200,000 bond was issued for his arrest. Thompson said he is not aware of Lester’s whereabouts. His home had been vandalized with black spray-paint and eggs over the weekend. 

  • Missouri shooting Image 1 of 2

    A police officer drives past the house Monday, April 17, 2023, where 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot Thursday when he went to the wrong house to pick up his younger brothers in Kansas City, Missouri. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Kansas City shooting Image 2 of 2

    Dried egg is seen on the front of a house on Monday, April 17, 2023, where 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Spoonmore described her nephew as “a fantastic kid” who is a member of the Technology Student Association and Science Olympia Team, as well as a section leader in the marching band. 


Vice President Kamala Harris said that she is praying for Yarl and his family. 

“Let’s be clear: No child should ever live in fear of being shot for ringing the wrong doorbell. Every child deserves to be safe. That’s the America we are fighting for,” Harris tweeted Monday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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