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Ralph Yarl Finds Support As Black Teen Who 'Racist' Shot In Head Struggles Through Recovery

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

The road to recovery for Ralph Yarl has been strenuous, but that hasn’t stopped the Black teen from being an inspiration to the world. Yarl was shot in the head and hand by Andrew Lester after Yarl went to the wrong house to pick up his brothers. The 17-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury after being shot. 

MORE: Prosecutor Says A ‘Racial Component’ Involved In Shooting Of Ralph Yarl

Yarl made his first public appearance over the weekend, joining family, friends and supporters at the annual Going the Distance for Brain Injury Memorial Day race in Kansas City, Missouri. During the race, supporters of Yarl donned “Team Ralph” shirts encouraging the teen to continue fighting through recovery.

“It takes a community. It takes a family. It takes a support group, all of that,” Yarl’s mother, Cleo Nagbe, told AP before the race. “Let’s raise more awareness to stop the things that cause brain injuries and should not be causing them, especially gun violence.”

Yarl’s aunt Faith Spoonmore told AP that since the shooting, Ralph suffers from debilitating migraines, he has issues with his balance and struggles with his emotions as well as mood swings, but the family will be there to support him regardless. 

“It’s important for Ralph to see that he is not alone,” said Spoonmore.

Andrew Lester, the man who shot 17-year-old Ralph Yarl in the head and then in the arm after the teen went to the wrong house to pick up his brothers, was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action, for which he could serve up to life in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty in April.

Lester reportedly told police that he had just gone to bed when he heard the doorbell, which prompted him to pick up his gun and go to the door where he saw a Black male pulling on the exterior storm door handle and thought someone was breaking in. 

Lester then shot Ralph and yelled, “Don’t come around here” to Ralph as he ran away after taking a bullet to the head. Afterward, Lester told police he was “scared to death” because he thought someone who rang the doorbell was trying to break in. 

Lester’s lawyers argue that he acted in self-defense and is protected under Missouri’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the same law that freed George Zimmerman after he killed Trayvon Martin.

Attorney Lee Merritt, one of the lawyers representing Ralph and his family, said in a statement that the law applies only if “someone’s on your property and they’re looking to do you harm,” and that “we don’t have any evidence of that.”

“The Castle Doctrine does not apply to this case,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lester is a free man again after posting 10 percent of his $200,000 bond and agreeing to turn over any weapons he owns, have zero contact with Yarl or his family, and have his cellphone monitored.

His next court date is in June.

During an interview with CNN, Lester’s grandson Klint Ludwig called him a racist.

“I believe he holds racist tendencies and beliefs,” he said in response to former CNN host Dom Lemon asking him if he believes Lester is racist. “He’s just a stock American Christian male.”

Ludwig continued, “I feel like a lot of people of that generation are caught up in this 24-hour news cycle of fear and paranoia perpetuated by some other news stations,” he said. “And he was fully into that, sitting and watching Fox News all day, every day blaring in his living room.”


Surprise, Surprise: Grandson Of Andrew Lester Says Ralph Yarl Shooter Is A Racist Who Obsessively Watches Fox News

The Shooting Of Ralph Yarl Renews Attention To The Dangers Of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Ralph Yarl Finds Support As Black Teen Who ‘Racist’ Shot In Head Struggles Through Recovery  was originally published on