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Man charged in shooting of Ralph Yarl now in custody

84-year-old Andrew Lester turned himself in in Kansas City on Tuesday. He is charged in the shooting of Ralph Yarl.
Posted at 3:22 PM, Apr 18, 2023

UPDATE: Andrew Lester, the man accused of shooting 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, was released from jail on $200,000 bond hours after being formally charged.

The man charged in the shooting of a 16-year-old Black boy in Kansas City has been taken into police custody.

Andrew Lester, 84, was charged Monday with two felony counts in the shooting of Ralph Yarl. He turned himself in to the Clay County Detention Center on Tuesday.

Lester is charged with felony counts of first degree assault and armed criminal action. The assault charge carries a possible sentence of up to 30 years in prison. The armed criminal action charge carries a possible sentence of up to 15 years.

Ralph Yarl plays a musical instrument

Ralph Yarl expected to make full recovery; shooter out on bond

The 16-year-old is recovering after being shot in the head and arm. His family says he is walking and talking.


Police arrested and interviewed Lester the day of the shooting, and released him pending additional investigation, which was expected to extend beyond the 24-hour hold period.

Lester told police at the time he thought someone was breaking into his home when the doorbell rang. He said he took the gun with him to answer.

Police say Lester fired through a glass storm door and hit Yarl twice, once in the head and once in the arm while he was on the ground.

Yarl was taken to the hospital with critical injuries Thursday. His family says he has been released and is recovering at home.

Lester's bond is set at $200,000.


According to the Kansas City Police's probable cause statement, a witness said they saw a car arrive at Lester's address. The witness said this was out of the ordinary, given the time of night. Shortly after, the witness said, they heard gunshots.

Police searched the address and found a .32 revolver that had been fired twice.

Lester was taken to KCPD headquarters and gave a statement. He said that no words were exchanged prior to the shooting.

Lester was booked on charges of aggravated assault and released at the time.

The probable cause statement indicates Yarl had mistakenly gone to the wrong address. A detective interviewed Yarl in the hospital, who said his mother had sent him to collect his brothers from 1100 NE 15th Street in Kansas City. The address he was meant to go to was 1100 NE 15th Terrace in Kansas City.

Following the shooting, protesters rallied outside the house where he was shot, and called for justice.

Yarl's family is being represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who reacted to the charges live on Scripps News. 

"That is the appropriate charge. To shoot a teenager just for ringing your doorbell can not be the message that we send to society," Crump said.

Ralph Yarl

Ben Crump: There's no relief until Ralph Yarl’s shooter is convicted

Attorney Ben Crump says the charges brought against Andrew Lester are the right response, but that there won't be relief without a conviction.


President Joe Biden called Yarl to wish him a swift recovery. Ralph's mother, Cleo Nagbe, said Yarl, who is an accomplished clarinetist, and President Biden bonded over a shared love of music.

His family says Yarl has now left the hospital and is continuing his recovery at home.