Andrew Lester, the Missouri man who is accused of shooting 16-year-old Ralph Yarl because he accidentally went to the wrong house and rang his doorbell, is now charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. The Clay County Prosecutor’s Office filed the charges on Monday, KMBC reported.
A warrant has been issued for Lester’s arrest.
Lester allegedly shot Ralph on Thursday evening when the teen tried to pick up his siblings from a friend’s house, but went to the wrong house. Dr. Faith Spoonmore, Ralph’s aunt, wrote about the shooting on a GoFundMe page.
“He pulled into the driveway and rang the doorbell. The man in the home opened the door, looked my nephew in the eye, and shot him in the head. My nephew fell to the ground, and the man shot him again. Ralph was then able to get up and run to the neighbor’s house, looking for help,” Spoonmore wrote on a GoFundMe page. “Unfortunately, he had to run to three different homes before someone finally agreed to help him after he was told to lie on the ground with his hands up.”
Spoonmore condemned police for describing the shooting as an error.
“This was not an ‘error’; this was a hate crime,” she said. “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.”
The devastated aunt said the teen is “doing well physically, but he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally.”
“The trauma that he has to endure and survive is unimaginable,” she wrote. “He is our miracle. We have heard these types of stories many times, and unfortunately, most black boys are not alive to get another chance.”
Speaking to police, Lester said he shot twice within seconds of opening the door because he believed someone was trying to break into his house. He also said said it was “the last thing he wanted to do” but he was “scared to death” because of the boy’s size and age.