UPDATE: The shooter was finally charged.
* Prosecutors in Kansas City, Missouri, have filed felony charges against the homeowner accused of shooting Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager who was shot when he went to the wrong house to pick up his siblings last week.
At a news conference Monday evening, Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced two felony charges against the suspect, Andrew D. Lester, whom he described as a White man who is 85 years old. The charges are one count of assault in the first degree, with a potential punishment of up to life in prison, and one count of armed criminal action.
16-year-old Ralph Yarl was going to pick up his younger twin brothers from their friend's house in Kansas City, Missouri when he accidentally drove to the wrong address, pulled into the driveway and rang the doorbell.
Yarl's siblings were at a house on 115th Terrace, but he accidentally went to the same address on 115th Street He was then allegedly shot by the occupant of the house, once in the head and again in the arm after he had fallen to the ground.
The Kansas City Defender reported the first shot was made through the glass door of the residence, meaning the occupant didn't even open the second door before opening fire.
CNN reported the alleged shooter was an 80-year-old White man. Records indicate he was taken into custody just before midnight, then released less than 2 hours later without charges.
Dr. Faith Spoonmore, Ralph Yarl's aunt, told The Kansas City Defender:
"This was not an ‘error’; this was a hate crime. You don’t shoot a child in the head because he rang your doorbell."
"The fact that the police said it was an ‘error’ is why America is the way it is."
She called for accountability for the shooter.
"This man intended to kill an innocent child simply because he rang the doorbell of the wrong house."
"He looked him in the face and shot him… and the individual is free to go about his day as if he did a great deed."
"While my nephew Ralph Yarl is a great kid, an intelligent kid, a Black boy is left with so many broken pieces."
Missouri law allows a suspect to be held for 24 hours for a felony investigation, but the suspect was released almost immediately instead of being held in custody.
Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said during a press conference on Sunday the suspect was placed on a 24 hour hold, but was quickly released pending further investigation after the department consulted the Clay County prosecutor’s office—despite detectives having located the firearm used in the shooting.
Zachary Thompson, Clay County Prosecutor, released a statement on Monday that said:
"We have not yet received a criminal referral from the Kansas City Police Department regarding this case."
"However, we are actively working with law enforcement in an attempt to speed up that process so that we can review the file when it is submitted and determine whether criminal charges are appropriate."
People were both astounded and outraged by Yarl's shooting.
The outpouring of support for him on social media was huge.
Ralph Yarl went home on Sunday, after 3 days in the hospital.
His father, Paul Yarl, said he is recovering.
"He continues to improve. He’s responsive and he’s making good progress."
Yarl's mother is a nurse and is caring for him at home now that he has been discharged from the hospital.
Dr. Spoonmore has set up a GoFundMe to help cover Yarl's medical bills and therapy. They stated any extra money raised will be used for his college expenses at Texas A&M and other expenses.