Last week (April 13), 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was reportedly shot twice in the head by an elderly white man after mistakenly ringing the wrong doorbell in an attempt to pick up his younger twin brothers in North Kansas City, Mo. According to the Kansas City Police Department, Yarl was asked to pick up his siblings from an address on 115th Terrace, but he accidentally went to a home on 115th Street.
A GoFundMe created by his aunt, Faith Spoonmore, adds that Yarl “pulled into the driveway and rang the doorbell. The man in the home opened the door, looked [him] in the eye, and shot him in the head.” After falling to the ground, he was shot again. Yarl eventually ran to three different homes before someone finally called for help.
According to The Kansas City Star, he is now home and recovering with his mother, who is a nurse. His father, Paul, told the outlet, “He continues to improve. He’s responsive and he’s making good progress.”
Local authorities revealed the man who shot Yarl was in custody for 24 hours but has since been released. Yarl’s family, who is now being represented by Attorney Ben Crump, is considering this to be a hate crime.
In a joint statement, Crump and the Yarl family stated, “There can be no excuse for the release of this armed and dangerous suspect after admitting to shooting an unarmed, non-threatening and defenseless teenager that rang his doorbell! We demand swift action from Clay County prosecutors and law enforcement to identify, arrest, and prosecute to the full extent of the law the man responsible for this horrendous and unjustifiable shooting.”
The NAACP has also issued a statement on the incident, expressing “We are angry. We need justice. We need accountability.”
At a press conference on Sunday (April 16), Chief Stacey Graves of the Kansas City Police Department explained why the suspect was only placed on a 24-hour investigative hold.
“Detectives and crime scene personnel immediately responded, processed the scene, and recovered the firearm. After consulting with the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office, the homeowner was released pending further investigation due to the need to obtain a formal statement from the victim, forensic evidence, and compile additional information for a case file to be presented,” said Graves.
A protest amassed in front of the reported suspect’s home following the press conference.