Family of Black Teen Shot in Head by Man after Youth Knocked on Wrong Door Sues Homeowner, Homeowner Association

By The Vanguard Staff

KANSAS CITY, MO – A white man who shot a Black teen in the head and arm has been sued, along with the Highland Acres Homes Association, by the family of  the teen, CNN reported Monday.

The Black teenager, Ralph Yarl, was shot in the head after ringing the doorbell of the wrong home.

CNN detailed a seven-page lawsuit, filed by Ralph’s mother Cleopatra Nagbe in the circuit court of Clay County, Missouri, accuses Andrew Lester, the shooter, and the Highland Acres Homes Association, Inc. of “careless and negligent conduct.

“At all times relevant, Plaintiff never posed or issued a threat to Defendant, Andrew Lester,” the lawsuit states, according to CNN, adding the pleading also named the Highland Acres Homes Association because, according to the suit, the association “was aware of or should have been aware of Defendant, Andrew Lester’s, propensity for violence, access to dangerous weapons and racial animus.”

Lester, 85, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action, and is free on bond, with trial set for Oct. 7.

CNN reported the “shooting on April 13, 2023, stemmed from a simple mistake when (Yarl), now 17, went to the wrong home while trying to pick up his younger siblings. After ringing the doorbell, Ralph was shot in the head and arm.”

“The racial dynamics of the incident raised scrutiny of whether anti-Black racism played a role in the shooting. Further, the shooting was among a spate of cases involving young people shot or killed after mistakenly going to the wrong house, the wrong driveway or the wrong car,” added CNN.

Lester was held only two hours, but after “a public outcry,” said CNN, was re-arrested and charged nearly a week later.

“Lester told police he opened fire through a locked glass door after he answered the doorbell and saw Ralph pulling on an exterior door handle, according to the probable cause document obtained by CNN. He also told police he didn’t exchange words with the teen before he fired, according to the document,” explained CNN.

Lester said he was “scared to death” due to the boy’s size, according to court documents. But, his family said Yarl stood 5-foot-8-inches and weighed only 140 pounds.

The teen, wrote CNN, said “he never pulled on the door. He said he rang the doorbell and waited a while before a man eventually opened the door and immediately shot him in the head, according to the document. While he was still on the ground, Ralph told police, the gunman fired again and shot him in the arm.”

“The teenager survived with serious injuries. Those close to the family said he had a prognosis of a full recovery, though with the possibility of long-term brain issues,” said CNN, quoting the lawsuit, which claims the teen “suffered and sustained permanent injuries, endured pain and suffering of a temporary and permanent nature, experienced disability and losses of normal life activities.”

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