In 2023, Ralph Yarl made the news after an 81-year-old white homeowner shot at him after he mistakenly went to the man’s house. Andrew Lester was subsequently put on trial and charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
Then 16, Yarl was trying to pick up his brother from a friend’s home on the night of April 13 and had gone to the wrong Kansas City address when Lester shot him through the door, according to NBC News.
He was reportedly picking up his brothers from a home at Northeast 115th Terrace but ended up at Northeast 115th Street mistakenly, just a block away. According to Yarl, Lester told him “Don’t come here ever again” when he opened the door.
“I hear the door open. I see this old man, and I’m assuming, ‘Oh, this must be like their grandpa,’ and then he pulls out his gun, and I’m like, whoa!” Yarl told ABC News.
“So I back up. He points it at me. So I kind of, like, brace and I turn my head. I’m thinking there’s no way he’s actually going to shoot, right? The door [isn’t] even open. He’s going to shoot through his glass door and glass is going get everywhere? And then it happened.”
Yarl underwent neurological surgery for the injuries.
Nine months after the incident, the Black teenager has secured a spot in the Missouri all-state band. The North Kansas City Schools said he was one of four students in the area to earn the prestigious recognition.
Yarl, who plays bass clarinet, was named second chair in the all-state band, according to a post by North Kansas City Schools on Facebook.
“Bravo to Eliza Cockrell and Stephen Kwon from Northtown, and Ralph Yarl and Carter Walters from Staley! They’ve earned a spot in the 2024 Missouri All State Orchestra or Band and will perform at the Missouri Music Educators Association annual conference in January at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Lake of the Ozarks,” the statement read.