• Search

84 Year Old Charged With Shooting 16-Year-Old Ralph Yarl After Teen Rang Wrong Doorbell

Kansas City, MO – Prosecutors have brought criminal charges against the elderly man who shot a teenage boy who rang the wrong doorbell while trying to pick up his siblings on Thursday night.

The incident occurred just before 10 p.m. on April 13 when 16-year-old Ralph Yarl went to a house in the 1100-block of Northeast 115th Street, instead of Northeast 115th Terrace, to pick up his 11-year-old twin brothers, NBC News reported.

Yarl told police he rang the doorbell and waited for someone to come to the door.

Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson said 84-year-old Andrew Lester answered the door with a gun in his hand, KCTV reported.

Thompson said Lester told investigators that he had just gone to bed that night when the doorbell rang.

Lester told police he saw a six-foot-tall man pulling on his front door and thought he was trying to break in, according to KCTV.

He told police he opened the door and fired two shots right away.

Yarl told investigators he “was immediately shot in the head and fell to the ground.”

Then, “while on the ground, he was shot a second time in the arm,” KCTV reported.

Yarl told police that after the octogenarian shot him, Lester warned “Don’t come around here.”

The wounded 16 year old ran to three homes looking for help before he was able to find someone to call 911, KCTV reported.

Attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Yarl, told a different story than the version told by the man who shot the 16 year old, NBC News reported.

“Whoever was inside took a little longer than he anticipated to respond, and so he just waited at the door,” Merritt explained.

Yarl told police he didn’t pull on Lester’s door, NBC News reported.

“He heard rustling around going on in the house and then finally the door was open,” the attorney said. “And he was confronted by a man who told him, ‘Don’t come back around here,’ and then he immediately fired his weapon.”

Merritt said the teen sustained a cracked skull and a traumatic brain injury as a result of the gunshot wound to his head, NBC News reported.

But he saved his own life by going for help at neighbors’ doors.

At the third house where Yarl knocked, the homeowners told him to lie on the ground and put his hands in the air while they called 911, NBC News reported.

Merritt said Yarl complied with the demands and then lost consciousness in that front yard.

He was transported to the hospital for treatment and remains hospitalized with serious wounds, NBC News reported.

Police took Lester into custody, KCTV reported.

On Monday, the Clay County prosecutor announced charges against Lester.

Thompson said that the 84 year old had been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action, KCTV reported.

A warrant for Lester’s arrest was issued and bond was set at $200,000.

Court records showed Lester told detectives he hadn’t wanted to shoot Yarl, KCTV reported.

He said that “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,” according to the police report.

Thompson said that Lester’s firearm was a .32-caliber revolver.

The prosecutor said there was “a racial component” to the case, CNN reported.

However, Thompson did not elaborate and no hate crime enhancements have yet been added to the charges against Lester.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

View all articles
Written by Sandy Malone


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."