During a press conference, Lester announced that Zachary Thompson, an 84-year-old white man, has been arrested for the criminal charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Additionally, Lester, identified as Andrew Thompson’s shooter, stated that a warrant has been issued against Thompson. The prosecutor’s office in Clay County filed felony charges against him on Monday evening.
Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old junior high school student, survived the shooting in Star City, Kansas. His father has been informed that his family is now recovering at home, and he was released from the hospital on Sunday in April.
Thompson stated that Yarl and Lester did not seem to have any prior interaction prior to the incident. When questioned about the potential racial motivation behind the shooting, Thompson indicated that the probable cause documents do not provide any clear evidence in that regard.
At the press briefing, he stated, “I can guarantee that the legal system is functioning and will persist to function, however, we comprehend the exasperation this has caused.”
Following public outcry, officials’ apparent delay in identifying and bringing charges against the individual accountable for the shooting of the teenager occurred. Despite being apprehended shortly after the incident, Lester was released the following day. In the aftermath, officials involved in the case mostly refrained from disclosing information.
Lawyers Ben Crump and Lee Merritt, advocates for civil liberties, stated that President Biden had a conversation with the adolescent and his family, whom they are legally representing, in a statement on Monday. The attorneys informed their clients that the prosecution was seeking charges against Lester, “the individual accountable for the abhorrent shooting of this blameless young boy,” as per the attorneys. This occurred shortly after the mentioned phone call.
Although they should not feel safe, our children are being hunted as Black individuals against gun violence. While Ralph works towards full recovery, we will certainly take a step in the right direction by continuing to fight.
By Monday, the vice president had also expressed their opinion. The circumstances of the shooting, combined with pictures of the 16-year-old student with his bass clarinet and younger siblings, ignited an emotional reaction in Kansas City and on social media.
Kamala Harris expressed on Twitter that it is crucial for every child to have a secure environment. She emphasized that no child should live in constant dread of getting shot due to a simple mistake of ringing the incorrect doorbell.
Thompson affirmed that officials dedicated sufficient time to thoroughly investigate the matter before pressing charges, in order to guarantee the delivery of justice.
Thompson explained that his department selected the charges that carried the most severe potential prison sentence for the perpetrator, when questioned about why they did not pursue charges of attempted murder or hate crime against Lester.
Numerous specifics regarding the shooting remain uncertain.
Thompson provided minimal additional information about the shooting during the press conference on Monday, surpassing what the authorities had previously disclosed.
On Sunday, during a press conference, Stacey Graves, the Chief of Police in Kansas City, stated that a teenager had been shot in the front of a residence by a homeowner. The incident was reported to the police on Thursday, April 13th, shortly before 10 p.M. In Clay County, which is located in the northern part of Kansas City, Missouri.
Officials stated that the adolescent was conveyed to the medical facility with injuries that could potentially be fatal. The resident was apprehended. At the location, detectives retrieved a weapon.
Mistaking 115th Street for 115th Terrace, as stated by Yarl’s family, the teenager intended to collect his younger siblings from a friend’s residence. However, he mistakenly arrived at the incorrect location.
Speaking on behalf of Yarl’s relatives, attorney Lee Merritt restated these particulars on Sunday. While Raphael was lying on the ground, he fired at him once more. According to a video shared on social media, Faith Spoonmore, his aunt, reported that the individual inside opened the door and shot him in the head through the glass door. He parked his vehicle in the driveway, approached the entrance, and pressed the doorbell.
His aunt mentioned that Yarl sustained severe injuries but managed to sprint to a nearby residence seeking assistance. He was admitted to the hospital for a duration of three evenings.
The police declined to release details about the shooting, such as the number of times Yarl was shot or the location of his injuries, citing the ongoing investigation. Similarly, the police refused to disclose whether the homeowner contacted 911.
Thompson stated, “Thompson mentioned that Lester fired bullets through a glass door.” Lester’s legal papers indicated that he shot in the head and arm and that Yarl did not enter the house at any moment. On Monday, Thompson disclosed that the teenager was shot.
Graves recognized on Sunday the “racial aspects” involved in the situation.
Further information on why law enforcement asserts that Lester was not immediately indicted following the incident
Graves previously stated that Lester was “assisting” the police and not regarded as likely to flee.
As per the authorities, it was mentioned on Sunday that in accordance with Missouri laws, it is obligatory to apprehend a suspect within a span of 24 hours, failing which they ought to be set free.
Graves stated that law enforcement opted to release the gunman “pending further inquiry,” in collaboration with nearby district attorneys, which also involved the necessity of acquiring an official declaration from Yarl.
She expressed, “We acknowledge the exasperation this can result in throughout the entirety of the criminal justice procedure.” “An official declaration is scheduled and will be provided as soon as the teenager’s injuries permit.”
Missouri is among the 38 states that have a “castle doctrine,” which generally allows residents to use deadly force against someone who enters their home unlawfully, if they reasonably believe they are under threat.
Yarl is a skilled high school musician with ambitions for college
He has achieved several accolades, including an honorable mention for his bass clarinet skills in the All-State Missouri Band. Additionally, he received an invitation to participate in a 15-day performance tour in Europe with other student musicians from Missouri. Furthermore, he also received a recruitment letter from Yale’s undergraduate admissions office.
On a GoFundMe page, his aunt penned that Yarl’s objective is to pursue chemical engineering at Texas A&M University and explore West Africa prior to commencing his college education. The fundraiser has already amassed over $2.1 million.