KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Northland teenager opened up to a national audience about a moment that changed his life forever.
It happened after Yarl went to the wrong door to pick up his twin brothers.
“I’m just a kid and not larger than life because this happened to me,” he said. “I’m just gonna keep doing all the stuff that makes me happy. And just living my life the best I can, and not let this bother me,” Yarl said to Roberts during the interview.
While Yarl said during the interview that he tries not to let the shooting bother him, his mother says he is still working to overcome the emotional and mental trauma, even after his physical injuries have healed.
Yarl explained what he remembered about the night of April 13, during his GMA interview. His nightmare started when he pulled into the driveway and walked up to the porch.
“As far as I know, I didn’t know their family at all. I’d never even seen their friends or their parents before, so maybe this is their house,” Yarl told Roberts during the GMA interview.
“I actually wait a long time. I’m just on the porch. So then, I hear the door open. I see this old man and I’m assuming, oh, this must be like their grandpa, and he pulls out his gun, and I’m like whoa. I like back up. He points it at me, so I kinda like brace and I turn my head. Before that I’m thinking there is no way he’s actually gonna shoot, right? The door is even open. He’s gonna shoot through his glass door and glass is gonna get everywhere. Then it happened.”
The man who answered the door was 84-year-old Andrew Lester. He later told investigators that he thought Yarl was going to rob him and he feared for his life.
“I’m on the ground. I fall on the glass, the shattered glass and then before I know it I’m running away, shouting help me, help me,” Yarl said during the interview with Roberts.
“He [Lester] only said five words. Don’t come here ever again.”
The teenager said he went to several homes in the neighborhood before someone finally opened their door to help him.
“I was bleeding from my head. I was like how is this possible? I’ve been shot in the head,” Yarl said.
Police called Yarl’s family to tell them what happened. They rushed to the hospital to see their son.
“He was partially alert when we got there, but it wasn’t a pleasant sight. It was traumatizing,” Yarl’s mother told GMA.
Less than three months after the shooting, Yarl has made remarkable progress, but he is still dealing with noticeable scars.
“There are a lot of things going on inside my head and aren’t normal. I’ve been having headaches, trouble with sleep, and sometimes my mind is just foggy. I can’t concentrate on the things that would be easy for me to do,” Yarl told GMA.
His mother said Yarl took the SATs when he was in the 8th grade, and hopes to become a chemical engineer.
Some of the things Yarl enjoyed doing so much earlier this year are more difficult since the April shooting. That includes playing music.
His family said Yarl had to avoid playing his instruments during his physical recovery. He is now able to make music again, according to Tuesday’s GMA interview where he played for Robin Roberts.
As for the man charged with shooting him, Yarl has some strong feelings about what should happen.
“Justice is just the rule of the law regardless of race, ethnicity, and age. He should be convicted for the crimes that he made. I’m past having any personal hatred for him. He should suffer repercussions because that is what our society is made of, trust in each other and reassurance that we can coexist together in harmony,” Yarl said.
Clay County prosecutors charged Lester with one count of first-degree felony assault and one count of armed criminal action. Lester pleaded not guilty to both crimes.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place in August, about a week after Yarl begins his senior year of high school.