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Crime News Black Lives Matter

‘A True Miracle:’ Black Teen Shot By White Homeowner After Going To Wrong House Expected To Make Full Recovery

After being shot by 84-year-old Andrew Lester for mistakenly showing up at the wrong house to pick up his siblings, 16-year-old Ralph Yarl is expected to make a full recovery, his lawyer says.

By Kate Zincone
A photo of Ralph Yarl

The Black teen who was shot twice last Thursday after mistakenly approaching the Kansas City, Missouri, home of an 84-year-old white man while trying to pick up his younger brothers is expected to make a full recovery. 

Ralph Yarl, 16, suffered bullet wounds to the head and arm during his encounter with Andrew Lester, whose actions were motivated by what prosecutors describe as a “racial component,” according to CNN.  

RELATED: Prosecutor Says 'Racial Component' Played A Role When Black Teen Who Went To Wrong House Was Shot By White Homeowner

"He’s home and looks great," the teenager’s attorney Lee Merritt said in an Instagram post on Wednesday. "Ralph is a WALKING MIRACLE with a head of steel."

On April 13, Yarl accidentally went to N.E. 115th St. rather than N.E. 115th Terrace to pick up his younger brothers from a friend’s house.

He was met by Lester, who fired his first shot from a handgun through the door. The second shot was fired while Yarl lay in a pool of blood and glass on the ground.

Yarl was able to collect himself to ask Lester’s neighbors for help, mustering the strength to go door to door, screaming that he was shot, according to People.

“Ralph suffered a traumatic brain injury that he is still recovering from,” Merritt wrote. “Had the bullet hit his head a fraction of an inch in any other direction he would probably be dead right now. He is expected to make a FULL recovery, but it will take time."⁣

Yarl's aunt, Faith Spoonmore, shared an update on her nephew's condition on a GoFundMe page. “He can ambulate and communicate,” she wrote. “A true miracle considering what he survived.”

Yarl was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition. He is now recovering at home, among the care of his family, many of whom work in the medical field.

The teen’s mother, Cleo Nagbe, shared an update on his condition during “CBS Mornings” with Gayle King, explaining that each day presents a new challenge for Yarl, who has a long road of recovery ahead, People reported.

“He’s home but I want to remind everybody that Ralph is home because he’s surrounded by a team of medical professionals," Nagbe said. "I’m a nurse for almost 20 years. His aunt is a physical therapist. His uncle is a medical professional. That’s why he’s home.”

Yarl and his family are also working with a trauma counselor to process this life-changing altercation.

Lester turned himself in the day after the incident. He told investigators that he was “scared to death” upon seeing Yarl’s size because of his inability to defend himself, CNN reported.

Lester was released on bond that same afternoon.

“He stated he believed someone was attempting to break into the house, and shot twice (through an exterior storm door) within a few seconds of opening the (main) door,” detectives noted in a court document.

Lester was charged on Monday with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action, KMBC reported. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

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