Suspect in Shooting of Kansas City Teenager Surrenders to Police

by Adeola Adeyeye
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Suspect in Shooting of Kansas City Teenager Surrenders to Police

The suspect in the shooting of Kansas City teenager Ralph Yarl is now in custody after surrendering himself to the police. He surrendered a day after charges were filed against him. Andrew Lester, who is 84 years old, is accused of shooting 16-year-old Ralph in the head and hand when the teenager mistakenly rang the doorbell of the wrong home while attempting to collect his younger twin brothers.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office released a statement announcing that Lester had surrendered and was now in custody. They also confirmed that he was in the booking process at the detention centre. This followed the news that prosecutors had filed charges against him. The charges include assault in the first degree and armed criminal action, both of which carry severe punishments.

During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Clay County prosecutor Zachary Thompson confirmed that there was a racial component to the case. He stated that Lester had been charged with two felonies. They include assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. The former carries a punishment of 10 to 30 years or life imprisonment, and the latter carries a punishment of 3 to 15 years. Lester’s bond has been set at $200,000.

Following the shooting, Lester was taken into custody and placed on a 24-hour hold.

However, according to Missouri state law, a person can only be held for 24 hours on suspicion of a felony before officials must either charge or release them. Attorneys for Ralph and jail officials have stated that the suspect was actually released after less than two hours.

The 16-year-old high school junior was shot in the head and hand. He was simply attempting to collect his siblings from a friend’s house on 115th Terrace in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 13th. According to the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD), he accidentally went to the wrong home on 115th Street. A witness later informed the police that they saw a vehicle pull into Lester’s driveway at around 9:30 PM on that day.

During the investigation, Lester told the police that he had just lain down when the doorbell rang. He picked up a .32 pistol and opened the interior door of his house. He saw a black male pulling on the exterior door and thought that he was trying to break into the property. Lester claimed he was “scared to death” at the boy’s size. Furthermore, he feared he would be unable to defend himself given his age.

Mr Lester said that he fired twice and that no words were exchanged with the victim.

However, Ralph told police in an informal interview at Children’s Mercy Hospital that he did not pull the door. He stated that he was waiting outside patiently. He said that a man opened the door and immediately shot him. The shot caused him to fall to the ground where he was shot for a second time. Ralph told the police that the man said-

“Don’t come around here.”

Ralph managed to stumble away and seek help from other homes in the neighbourhood. He was then rushed to the hospital. On Monday, he was released from the hospital to recover at home from his injuries. The case has sparked outrage and prompted discussions about racial bias and gun control laws.

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