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‘A racial component’: Court documents detail charges against Andrew Lester, man accused of shooting teenager Ralph Yarl

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    CLAY COUNTY, Missouri (KMBC) — The Clay County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday evening filed charges against Andrew Lester in the shooting of Ralph Yarl.

Lester is charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

Yarl was shot late on the evening of April 13th, 2023 at a home on Northeast 115th Terrace in Kansas City.

Yarl was picking up his siblings, but he went to Northeast 115th Street instead.

Police said Yarl was shot after he knocked on the home’s door.

In announcing his decision to file charges, Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson said there was a “racial component to the case.”

Details from the probable cause of the Andrew Lester Case Officers arrived at the address at around 9:52 p.m. on Thursday night.

Yarl was found in front of a nearby home.

Officers were contacted by someone who called 911 who said they believed the person who shot was at a nearby address. Officers approached and observed the front storm door glass shattered with Lester standing inside.

Lester provided a written consent to search his residence.

An officer observed the front storm glass door broken with blood on the front porch. The officer also observed blood on the driveway, cameras on the south and east side of residence, and blood in the street in front of a nearby house.

A witness said they heard an unknown vehicle pull into the driveway of Lester’s address. The witness “thought it was odd for their elderly neighbor to have a visitor this late at night,” according to the statement.

The witness stated a short time later they heard “two to three gunshots” from Lester’s known address.

The witness also heard Yarl screaming that he had been shot.

A CSI team located a Smith and Wesson .32 caliber revolver with two spent shell casings still in the cylinder along with live rounds in the chamber.

Officers took a hard drive from Lester’s home to preserve video, but the video system was “no longer functional.”

The probable cause said Lester stated he picked up his gun before responding to the door. Lester told authorities he believed someone was attempting to break inside his house.

He said he shot twice within seconds of opening the door and no words were exchanged.

Lester said it was “the last thing he wanted to do” but was “scared to death” because of Yarl’s size and his age.

The probable cause states Lester believes he was protecting himself, but later expressed concern for the victim.

Lester was transported to the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department’s East Patrol. He was booked there, photographed and fingerprinted for charges of aggravated assault.

“Upon consulting the Clay County Prosecutor in regard, they advised to release Lester pending further investigation,” the probable cause reads.

Yarl told authorities the man who lived at the residence said, “Don’t come around here.” Yarl went to multiple homes asking for assistance and telling people to call police.

The probable cause statement says Yarl suffered a gunshot wound in the left forehead and right arm.

Lester’s whereabouts were unknown at this time.

If convicted, he could spend life in prison.

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