KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An attorney representing the family of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl shared an update on the teen’s status Wednesday after he was shot by a Kansas City homeowner last week.
Attorney Lee Merritt posted a picture of him and Yarl on Twitter sitting on a bench outside, stating that Yarl is expected to make a full recovery after he was released from the hospital Monday.
On his Instagram page, Merritt wrote that Yarl suffered a traumatic brain injury and noted that if the bullet hit his head a fraction of an inch in any other direction, he would probably be dead right now.
The Kansas City teen was shot last week when he mistakenly went to the wrong address to pick up his younger siblings.
Kansas City police said on April 13, Yarl intended to pick up his brothers at a home on N.E. 115th Terrace, but he went to a house on N.E. 115th Street.
When Ralph arrived at the home, the homeowner, now identified as Andrew Lester, shot him, court documents say.
On Monday, 84-year-old Lester was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Lester is set to be arraigned in a Clay County courtroom Wednesday afternoon.
“My reaction is a relief. That’s what we requested, that’s what we wanted, and that’s what is happening so we’re happy,” Ralph’s father Paul Yarl told FOX4 Monday after charges were announced.
Merritt said the family is working with a trauma-informed psychologist and therapist to work with Yarl and his family.
Meanwhile, the community continues to rally behind Yarl and his family.
One Northland business owner is donating proceeds to the teen’s GoFundMe account. In just three days, the account has raised nearly $3.3 million.
Joelle Six, the owner of Joelle’s Baked with Love, is donating 10% of sales along with 100% of tips.
“When I heard what happened, I was like, I would never miss an opportunity to bless someone,” Six said.
Six said her husband had a stroke a year ago and several community members stepped in to help.
“Monday it was crowded, and I was sold out,” Six said. “There were no cupcakes left barely. I think I only had five scones left.”
Six said the community has been showing up in numbers to support Ralph. The support hits close to home for some customers like Christopher Fuller, who said he knows Ralph.
“I know him from training with him in tai-kwon-do,” Fuller said. “My daughter and I both trained with him for a couple of years and he was always one of those students that was just amazing to be around.”
Fuller said he was shocked to hear about the shooting, but thankful Ralph has so much support.
“Even though one person’s actions, evil as they may be horrible as they may be, the love that wins out is the amazing amount of community that came together from that – just showing Ralph that he matters,” Fuller said.
“The people are amazing,” Six said. “This community, I am forever grateful, and whenever there’s something, they always show up.”
Hundreds of his classmates and teachers at Staley High School took part in a unity march Tuesday at the school, chanting messages of “We love you, Ralph,” and “Justice for Ralph.”
“We wanted to show Ralph, our fellow Falcon, that we stand with him and to spread awareness about the situation,” Staley senior Cayla said. “I know that the school will stand by his side and support him.”
Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in downtown Kansas City. Local activists called for federal hate crime charges in the case.
Merritt also mentioned that Yarl was able to speak with President Biden on Monday. Merritt said the family spoke with the President for more than an hour where Biden and Ralph talked about music, family, school and more.
Biden also invited Yarl to the White House Oval when he is fully recovered.