Protesters demand justice for Black teen shot in Kansas City
Protesters gather in front of the house where Yarl was reportedly shot and demanded that the homeowner face hate crime charges.
Hundreds of protesters demanded justice for a Black teenager shot in the midwestern US state of Missouri, local media reported on Sunday.
Ralph Paul Yarl, 16, is in critical condition after he was shot twice and struck in the head by a white man last week in Kansas City, according to a statement on Sunday by high-profile lawyers Ben Crump and Lee Merritt, who have agreed to take the case.
Yarl was picking up his twin brothers from a friend's house on Thursday when he rang the wrong doorbell and was shot by the homeowner through a glass door, according to a note from his aunt, Faith Spoonmoore, on a GoFundMe campaign for his medical bills and therapy.
On Sunday, protesters gathered in front of the house where Yarl was reportedly shot and demanded that the homeowner face hate crime charges, Kansas City public broadcaster KCUR 89.3 reported.
A massive crowd has amassed in front of the white man's home who attempted to murder 16 year old Black boy Ralph Yarl in Kansas City Missouri pic.twitter.com/f100JlEihV— The Kansas City Defender (@KCDefender) April 16, 2023
Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said at a Sunday night press conference that the homeowner had been released after 24 hours in custody and that a statement from the victim would be needed before pursuing any charges.
"The information that we have now, it does not say that it's racially motivated, that's still an active investigation," Graves said.
"But as a chief of police, I do recognize the racial components of this case. I do recognize and understand the community's concern."
Graves said police were working "as expeditiously and as thoroughly as we can."
Police said Yarl had been transferred to the hospital with injuries described as life-threatening, according to local media. They did not say how many times he had been shot.
"Ralph is alive. He is healing," Spoonmore told KCUR. On the GoFundMe page, she described Yarl as a smart and friendly kid with dreams of studying chemical engineering at university.
NEW: Ralph Yarl, 16, was shot twice by a white man in Kansas City after accidentally ringing the doorbell of the wrong home. The man shot Ralph in the head through his glass door, and then when Yarl was already bleeding out on the ground, shot him again: https://t.co/w3tYQvcpyj pic.twitter.com/UNpQhC8j0V— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) April 16, 2023
The suspected shooter has not been identified by the authorities.
This comes as on Saturday in the state of Alabama, four people were killed and at least 28 others, mostly teenagers, were wounded in a shooting at a birthday party.