According to CBS Kansas City police are working to quickly prepare evidence for the Clay County prosecutor in the shooting of a Black teenager who was trying to pick up his younger brothers from a friend’s house Thursday.
“I want everyone to know that I am listening,” Police Chief Stacey Graves said Sunday at a news conference at Kansas City police headquarters downtown, “and I understand the concern we are receiving from the community.”
The Kansas City Star reported the 16-year-old boy, who family members have identified online as Ralph Yarl, was hospitalized Thursday night after he was shot while trying to pick up his younger twin brothers.
Police said he went to the wrong house and was shot there.
Officials would not confirm the number of times the homeowner shot the victim or where his injuries were.
Police haven’t identified the shooter or his race.
Information that officials have now does not point to the crime being racially motivated, but Graves said that aspect also remains under investigation.
“This is not something that has been dismissed, marginalized, diminished in any way. This is something that is getting the full attention of the Kansas City Police Department,” she said, according to CBS Kansas City, Mo. affiliate KCTV.
Investigators also will consider whether or not the suspect was protected within the Stand Your Ground laws, Graves said.
Police initially said Yarl was in stable condition but had a life-threatening injury. His current condition has not been released, other than he is stable.
Graves said Sunday that the homeowner who allegedly shot the teen was taken into custody Thursday and placed on a 24-hour hold. While searching the scene for evidence, detectives found the firearm allegedly used. Law enforcement released the suspect pending further investigation after consulting with the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office.
Missouri law allows a person to be held up to 24 hours for a felony investigation. At that point, the person must be released or arrested and formally charged. In order to arrest someone, law enforcement needs a formal victim statement, forensic evidence and other information for a case file to be completed, Graves said.
Because of the teen’s injuries, Graves said police haven’t been able to get a victim statement.
Mayor Quinton Lucas, who attended the news conference, said the police department understands the community’s concern that the shooting could be racially motivated. He said some members of the police department attended a protest Sunday in the neighborhood where the shooting took place to listen to community members’ concerns.
“This is not something that has been dismissed, marginalized or diminished in any way. This is something that is getting the full attention of the Kansas City Police Department,” Lucas said.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump told The Star on Sunday that his Florida-based law firm has been retained by the teen’s family.
“You can’t just shoot people without having justification when somebody comes knocking on your door and knocking on your door is not justification. This guy should be charged,” Crump said.
Crump has represented the families in several high-profile cases including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, as well as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
He said the homeowner initially shot the teen in the head and then a second time after the boy fell to the ground.
The family also has retained Lee Merritt, a Texas-based civil rights attorney who has previously represented the family of Cameron Lamb, who was fatally shot by KCPD detective Eric DeValkenaere in 2019.
Crump said based on what he was told by the teen’s family, the shooter is white.
“It is inescapable not to acknowledge the racial dynamics at play,” he said.
Yarl meant to pick up his brothers from a friend’s house on 115th Terrace. He ended up ringing the doorbell at a home on 115th Street, Faith Spoonmore, the teen’s aunt, wrote online.
She wrote that her “nephew Ralph Pual Yarl was on his way to pick up his twin younger brothers from their friend’s house a few blocks away from his house. 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.”
Kansas City police officers said they responded to the area around 10 p.m.
“Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally,” Spoonmore wrote in a GoFundMe she started to raise money for Yarl’s medical bills and other expenses.
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His name is #RalphYarl and I’m sick and tired of this feeling…my heart completely broke when I learned this precious 16-year-old, who accidentally rang the door of the wrong address in an attempt to pick up his siblings, was shot in the head… (1/3) pic.twitter.com/4VaZo7EFVE
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) April 17, 2023
— alexa, tell me a dad joke??? 1 to go ? (@fitdadceo) April 16, 2023
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) April 17, 2023
“We are here because an injustice has happened.”
Hundreds of protestors walked to the house where 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot.
— Peyton Headlee KMBC (@PeytonKMBC) April 16, 2023
A massive crowd has amassed in front of the white man’s home who attempted to murder 16 year old Black boy Ralph Yarl in Kansas City Missouri pic.twitter.com/f100JlEihV
— The Kansas City Defender (@KCDefender) April 16, 2023
#RalphYarl. My goodness…let’s be for justice, which is a continuum. That means the man who did this should be charged AND we need to work for the legislative and heart change to prevent these tragedies.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 17, 2023
Ralph Yarl should be home with his family, dreaming about his future. Instead, he is fighting for his life. Ralph was only trying to pick up his younger siblings, but was shot twice in the head after ringing the wrong doorbell.
Being Black is not a crime. Ralph deserves justice. pic.twitter.com/EvPMP6H1Eb
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) April 17, 2023
Ralph Yarl, age 16, knocked on the wrong door in Missouri and was shot.
He went to the door at the wrong home to pick up his younger twin brother and that’s when he was shot, according to police.
CBS affiliate KCTV reports: “The correct address Yarl was attempting to go to… pic.twitter.com/7WG6E9Cn5s
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) April 17, 2023
Praying for you!