Ralph Yarl opens up for the first time after being shot for going to wrong home

Francis Akhalbey June 28, 2023
Ralph Yarl, 17, was shot by a White homeowner after he went to the wrong house -- Photo Credit: Ben Crump Law

Ralph Yarl, the Black teenager who was shot twice by a White Kansas City homeowner after he went to the wrong house to pick up his younger brothers, recently opened up about the April 13 incident for the first time.

According to PEOPLE, Yarl, 17, recalled what transpired during the encounter in an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday. The Black teen was shot in the head and arm after 84-year-old Andrew Lester opened fire on him.

When the show’s co-anchor, Robin Roberts, asked Yarl if “there were any words exchanged” before Lester fired at him, the Black teen said the White homeowner “only said five words: ‘Don’t come here ever again.'”

“He points [the gun] at me … so I kinda, like, brace, and I turn my head,” he added. “Then it happened. And then I’m on the ground … and then I fall on the glass. The shattered glass. And then before I know it I’m running away shouting, ‘Help me, help me.'”

Yarl also revealed that though he had sustained gunshot wounds, he still managed to stay “alert” because his “instincts took over.” The teen recalled that multiple people declined to assist him during his attempt to find help, until someone eventually came to his aid. He also said the first house he approached closed the door and locked it, per PEOPLE.

“So then I go to the next house across the street,” he recalled. “No one answers. And the house to the right of that house, I go there and someone opens the door and tells me to wait for the police.”

Lester was later charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action after turning himself in to authorities on April 18. The suspect, who told police he opened fire because he thought someone was trying to forcefully enter his home, was released on a $200,000 bond. Though Clay County Prosecuting Attorney, Zachary Thompson, said there was a “racial component to this case” at the time, he did not provide further details on that. 

Despite his near-fatal experience, Yarl told Good Morning America he won’t let what happened get in the way of his happiness as he’s a normal kid. “Classical music kinda resonates with me,” he said. “Just the feeling that it creates and the fact that you can make it yourself … it kinda invigorates me.”

“I’m just a kid,” he continued. “I’m not larger than life because this happened to me. I’m just going to keep doing the stuff that makes me happy and just living my life the best I can and not let this bother me.”

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: June 28, 2023

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