Ralph Yarl makes first public appearance since being shot in head after ringing the wrong doorbell

Teenager was shot after he mistakenly rang the bell at the wrong door while trying to pick up his brothers

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 30 May 2023 04:57 BST
Ralph Yarl makes first public appearance since being shot in head

The Kansas City teenager who was shot in the head after going to the wrong home to pick up his brothers has made his first public appearance.

Ralph Yarl was on hand for the Going the Distance for Brain Injury walk and run in the city on Monday’s Memorial Day holiday.

Andrew Lester, 84, is accused of shooting the Black 17-year-old with a .32 pistol after he mistakenly rang the bell at the wrong door on 13 April. The white homeowner faces felony charges of assault in the first degree and armed criminal action.

“It’s heartwarming to see this kind of support,” said Ralph’s mother Cleo Nagbe. “I pray the support is not just for Ralph. I pray the support goes a long way for everybody that is in this situation.”

Ralph and his family walked 1.5 miles and she told KMBC that they had practised distances of up to three miles.

But she said the real challenge for her son had been facing a large crowd for the first time since the incident, which garnered worldwide attention.

“It was mostly the anxiety for him,” she said. “Socially it’s still hard for him. So, I’m glad he was able to overcome this. I pray that he will overcome most of his social hurdles after doing this.”

Organisers of the event told the news station that they were pleased the teenager had felt comfortable enough to take part.

“Every person’s journey is different,” said Robin Abramowitz, the executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City.

“But knowing that others have a sense of what you’ve been through makes a huge difference in someone’s life.”

Ralph’s family said he had dealt with debilitating migraines and balance issues since the shooting as well as trauma and mood swings.

“It’s important for Ralph to see that he is not alone,” said his aunt Faith Spoonmore.

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