A 16-year-old Kansas City teenager picking up his siblings knocked on the wrong Northland door and nearly lost his life.

Ralph Yarl survived the shooting, but the crime against a Black teenager by a white man again raised racial tension and those feelings raced across the country.

FOX4’s John Holt and Christel Bell discuss the questions and mistrust that continue to linger on this week’s episode of “4 The People.”

Getting those questions and rebuilding trust following Yarl’s shooting begins with conversations, according to Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas.

“Certainly there is a conversation about justice that is important. Making sure, and my hope, that there is a conviction in this case. But, for those of us not in the criminal justice process, it’s really about how do we make sure that everyone can feel comfortable in every part of the city, which I think is a core concern leading this incident,” Lucas said.

The Clay County Prosecutor and Kansas City Police Chief each say they want justice in the shooting.

The civil rights attorney representing Yarl has been critical of how the case is being handled and called for hate crime charges to be filed.

“Hate crime statues were created in Missouri and at the federal level to offer an additional protection to the African American community that is often the target of racial violence. So yes, it is important to pursue charges under the hate crime statutes that exist,” Lee Merritt, Yarl family attorney and national civil rights attorney, said.

“Now, I think it stands to reason, and I actually agree with the Clay County Prosecutor that the state and local statute would not be appropriate to this case and would create additional burdens that wouldn’t be worth the rub because the current charges would get you life imprisonment. But, this case is under the investigation of the Department of Justice.”

The dynamics and criminal component of the case have impacted the Kansas City community. Emotions are running high because Yarl made a simple mistake. One many people say they can relate to and can’t grip what happened.

“I think that before we go to impact and solutions we first have to grapple with why this occurred, Qiana Thomason, Health Forward Foundation President & CEO, said. “It is my belief, and many of my community and identity, that Ralph Yarl’s shooting is rooted in an underlying fear of Black men and Black boys due to centuries of harmful and consequential narratives.”

Thomason says the issues lower the life expectancy of Black communities and cause toxic stress throughout cities.

The key to changing the issue is education, according to Dr. Tina Ellsworth who works at Northwest Missouri State University.

“If we can go back to fixing the wrongs in those histories, telling people the truth about what happened. Just like if I was in a relationship with someone and I tell them about my history, because in order to understand me now you have to understand where I came from,” Ellsworth said. “This nation has a collective question as well. How did we get here? Why are things the way they are now? And it’s because of our history.”

There are signs of support for Ralph Yarl across the metro following the shooting, but the issue hits close to home for thousands of teenagers across Kansas City.

“You obviously see what happens, goes on in our country, but it really hit just very deep knowing that he goes to your school. That this was your neighborhood. it happened three minutes away from me, which is very sad,” Jaxon Lewis, Staley High School student, said.

“I just want the community to know that I feel like us as Black men, us as young African Americans we want to be welcomed in the community. We want to be able to go up and talk to our neighbors without having the risk of what happened to Ralph. I think that is such a big, important thing. That’s what we want them to know. That is what we want in our communities. We want to go up and we want people to respect us and not be afraid of us,” Teigan Blaine, St. James Academy student, said.

Blaine, Lewis, Carter Lewis, and Aryn Bagby are students who are part of the metro-area group, Suburban Balance. Its goal is to provide educational and cultural opportunities to suburban kids of color to ensure they experience a well-balanced lifestyle while growing up in communities or attending schools that lack diversity.

The four teenagers continued the discussion about race relations and how racial issues are impacting them with FOX4’s Christel Bell.

Watch the entire conversation in the video player below.

This week’s episode of “4 The People” is available to watch in the video player at the top of the page.

FOX4 brings you 4 The People, with new episodes airing on FOX4 every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and posted online at FOX4KC.com.