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Family of Ralph Yarl files civil lawsuit against Andrew Lester, homeowners association

By Greg Dailey

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    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — On April 13, 2023, Andrew Lester was accused of shooting Northland teen Ralph Yarl after the boy had knocked at the wrong door to pick up his brothers.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent months recovering and working to overcome the emotional and mental trauma of the shooting.

More than a year later, Yarl’s mother filed a civil lawsuit against Lester and the Highland Acres Homes Association.

Today, on behalf of my son Ralph Yarl, we stand before you to announce a significant step towards justice and accountability. The attorney, Lee Merritt, representing Ralph, has taken the necessary action by filing a civil case in Clay County Court. This incident not only shattered our family but also exposed a critical gap in our societal fabric, where the safety of our children is jeopardized by reckless actions.

Through this civil suit, we aim to spark a dialogue on the importance of responsible gun ownership and community safety measures of using words, not weapons. It’s not just about seeking financial compensation; it’s about holding all parties involved accountable and ensuring that steps are taken to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.

Including the homeowner’s association (HOA) in this lawsuit underscores the importance of collective responsibility in safeguarding our communities. Their knowledge of a potentially dangerous individual in the neighborhood without taking adequate precautions is unacceptable. This case is not just about seeking justice for Ralph but about advocating for systemic changes that prioritize the safety and well-being of all children.

We refuse to let Ralph’s suffering be in vain. His ordeal must serve as a wake-up call for our nation to prioritize child safety and enact meaningful reforms to protect our youth from gun violence. We hope this civil suit will ignite a nationwide movement toward creating safer environments for our children to thrive without fear.

Cleo Nagbe, Ralph Yarl’s mother

The lawsuit alleged the HOA “was aware or should have been aware of Andrew Lester’s propensity for violence, access to dangerous weapons and racial animus.”

Lester, 85, has been charged with first-degree felony assault and armed criminal action. Lester pleaded not guilty to both crimes.

His attorney has said his client was afraid and was defending himself. Lester’s trial is scheduled to begin in October.

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