Protesters have taken to the streets after a Black teenager was shot by a homeowner in a Missouri neighborhood over the weekend.
Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old from Kansas City, had been dispatched by his parents to go pick up his younger brothers at a home in the city late on Thursday evening. He was given an address on 115th Terrace in the far northern part of the city. But when he got there, he mistakenly went to that same house number on 115th Street — just one block away.
Once at the house, Ralph rang the doorbell, thinking he was in the right place to pick up his twin brothers. Sadly, he was mistaken. Then, for no reason, he was shot right after. According to KMBC, who spoke to family members after the incident, the 16-year-old boy was “shot twice and struck in the head and arm.”
A GoFundMe set up by Ralph’s aunt Faith Spoonmore explained more about the awful Thursday night incident:
“He didn’t have his phone. He mistakenly went to the wrong house, one block away from the house where his siblings were. He pulled into the driveway and rang the doorbell. The man in the home opened the door, looked my nephew in the eye, and shot him in the head. My nephew fell to the ground, and the man shot him again. Ralph was then able to get up and run to the neighbor’s house, looking for help. Unfortunately, he had to run to 3 different homes before someone finally agreed to help him after he was told to lie on the ground with his hands up.”
The owner of that 115th Street house is the one who allegedly shot the young man. And it was all over a case of a mistaken address?? And for merely ringing a doorbell?
Cops responded to the shooting and rushed Ralph to the hospital. As of Sunday evening, he was reportedly in stable condition as he fights for his life with the awful and completely unnecessary wounds. Per CNN, police did take the homeowner into custody after the shooting. The homeowner — who has not been identified — was placed on a 24-hour hold over the weekend before being released.
In a news conference on Sunday, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said officers are working to gather “additional forensic evidence” and to take down a formal statement from Yarl after he continues to recover. When asked by reporters at the Sunday press conference whether the shooting was racially-motivated, the police chief said:
“The information that we have now, it does not say that that is racially motivated. That’s still an active investigation. But as a chief of police, I do recognize the racial components of this case.”
Chief Graves went on to add:
“We recognize the frustration this can cause in the entire criminal justice process. The women and men of the Kansas City Police Department are working as expeditiously and as thoroughly as we can, to ensure the criminal justice process continues to advance as quickly as all involved and our community deserve.”
As for Yarl’s family, they have retained civil rights attorneys S. Lee Merritt and Benjamin Crump, per CNN.
Those two attorneys released a statement on behalf of the family over the weekend, too. In it, they said:
“Despite the severity of his injuries and the seriousness of his condition, Ralph is alive and recovering. … swift action from Clay County prosecutors and law enforcement to identify, arrest and prosecute to the full extent of the law the man responsible for this horrendous and unjustifiable shooting.”
While Ralph continues to recover in the hospital, the legal and social aspects of the case are moving forward. Protesters took to the streets over the weekend and marched to the home where the shooting occurred. They chanted things like “Justice for Ralph,” “Ringing a doorbell is not a crime,” and “Black Lives Matter,” per Fox 4 KC News.
In response, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said there will be “a thorough investigation” of the shooting by the prosecutor’s office as they determine whether to charge the homeowner.
For now, the Yarl family is rallying around their beloved son. He is described in media reports and on that aforementioned GoFundMe as a great student, a “kind soul,” “well-mannered,” and even “a musical genius” who played several instruments for his school band. Per KSHB, he hopes to attend Texas A&M University and study chemical engineering after graduating from high school.
The GoFundMe page started by his aunt has raised $1 million in donations as of early Monday morning. The concerned family member wrote about Ralph’s long road ahead:
“Life looks a lot different right now. Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally. The trauma that he has to endure and survive is unimaginable. He is our miracle. We have heard these types of stories many times, and unfortunately, most black boys are not alive to get another chance. Ralph deserves to have the future that he has dreams about. He deserves to be the light that shows the world that LOVE wins and that humanity is still Good. However, he will need a lot of help to get there. Funds from this account will be used for his medical bills and therapy.”
You can visit that page for yourself HERE.
For now, Ralph’s father Paul Yarl (pictured above, in the top-right corner) is trying to grapple with his son’s injuries. He is also demanding justice be brought against the man who shot him. During the peaceful protests this weekend, the grief-stricken father told Fox 4 KC News (below):
“It’s scary because we could have been talking about losing him. We just want justice, Ralph is a good kid, he doesn’t deserve what is happening to him. Our message for the prosecutor: we want charges, that’s what we want. If he goes free, the next Black kid that rings that doorbell could get shot again. We don’t want that.”
You can see more for yourself on the ongoing investigation and this weekend’s citizen action to demand justice (below):
Such a terrible situation.
Getting shot just for ringing a doorbell?!
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