KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) – Charges have been filed against a Kansas City, Missouri man accused of shooting a Black teenager who went to the wrong house earlier this month.
Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced late Monday afternoon that Andrew D. Lester, 85, is facing charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. The announcement came just hours after Kansas City police submitted the case to prosecutors.
Lester, who is white, is accused of shooting 16-year-old Ralph Yarl last Thursday night after the teen accidentally went to the wrong house to pick up his siblings.
According to Kansas City police, Ralph was picking up his younger siblings at a home on N.E. 115th Terrace when he mistakenly went to Lester’s house on N.E. 115th Street.
He didn’t have a phone with him and went to the wrong block, his aunt, Faith Spoonmore, wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help pay medical bills. Spoonmore wrote that Yarl pulled into the driveway and rang the doorbell.
Lester allegedly came to the door and shot the teenager in the head before shooting him again, The Associated Press reports.
Lester was taken into custody after Thursday’s shooting but was released the next day following consulation with the prosecutor’s office, Police Chief Stacey Graves said Sunday.
In an interview with police, Lester said he had just gone to bed when he heard the doorbell ring. He explained that he grabbed his .32 Smith and Wesson 1888 revolver before answering the door, which consisted of an interior main door and exterior glass storm door, both of which were locked, according to court documents.
Lester told authorities that when he opened the interior door, he saw a Black man pulling on the exterior storm door handle. He believed someone was attempting to break into the house and shot twice within a few seconds of opening the door, court documents say.
According to Yarl, Lester told him “don’t come around here,” after the shooting. As court documents explained, Yarl described going to multiple homes asking for help. Police arrived shortly after and found Yarl had gunshot wounds to his forehead and arm.
Family confirmed with Nexstar’s WDAF that Ralph has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering at home.
Following the charging announcement, Mayor Quinton Lucas released a statement saying “I am relieved to see this first step towards justice for Ralph Yarl with today’s felony charges. Now we must remain engaged through trial.”
A warrant has been issued for Lester’s arrest; his bond has been set at $200,000. As of Monday evening’s press conference, Lester had not been taken into custody.
When asked if anything was said that made investigators believe that the case was racially motivated, Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson said nothing like that is indicated in charging documents.
“We understand how frustrating this has been but I can assure the criminal justice system is working and will continue to work,” Thompson added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.