When Andrew Lester admittedly shot a gun through his home’s front door, bullets struck Ralph Yarl in the head and arm. Yarl was 16 and at Lester’s doorstep at the time due to a mistaken pick-up address.
RELATED: UPDATE: 84-Year-Old Man Charged After Shooting 16-Year-Old Ralph Yarl Who Mistakenly Arrived At His House
On Tuesday (Aug. 22), after more than four months since the Apr. 13 shooting, Yarl started his senior year of high school. Though a local Kansas City hospital released him on Apr. 17, the encounter left him healing from a “traumatic brain injury.”
Soon after, in May, Ralph Yarl celebrated his 17th birthday. Then, he went on to establish some sense of normalcy this summer. Now he’s ready to continue “being a teenager,” his aunt and GoFundMe organizer, Faith Spoonmore, recently told the Kansas City Star.
Andrew Lester’s Preliminary Hearing For Shooting Ralph Yarl Set For Next Week
However, given Andrew Lester’s upcoming court appearance, week two of Ralph’s senior year will likely see some disruption. The 84-year-old has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 31, per the Associated Press.
You’ll recall Lester pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Kansas City officials reportedly took four days to charge Lester after the shooting–sparking local and nationwide protests about gun violence, especially against Black adults and youth.
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If next week’s hearing leads to a trial, Yarl will likely relive the shooting throughout his senior year. That burden is one Yarl is presumably prepared to carry in the name of justice.
In June, the teenager told Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, “[Andrew Lester] should be convicted for the crimes he made.” However, Yarl also stated that he harbors no “personal hatred” for Lester.
EXCLUSIVE: Ralph Yarl, the teen who was shot after mistakenly going to the wrong house, speaks out about the harrowing experience to @robinroberts: “He points [the gun] at me … Then it happened … And then before I know it I’m running away shouting, ‘Help me, help me.'” pic.twitter.com/JOKmTzhIQd
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 27, 2023
How Ralph Yarl Is Slowly Tapping Back Into Being A Teenager Again
As mentioned, Yarl has attempted to find a sense of normalcy since he mistakenly arrived at Lester’s in the 1100 block of NE 115th St. He had meant to pick up his siblings at NE 115th Terrance–just one street over.
Instead, when he arrived at Andrew Lester’s doorstep, the 84-year-old brandished a gun. Yarl told GMA that when he turned to walk away, Lester fired the gun twice, striking him in the head and arm.
RELATED: Judge Partially Seals Evidence In Shooting Case Of Ralph Yarl To Protect Safety Of Accused Gunman Andrew Lester
The Black teenager says the white senior citizen only said five words to him, “Don’t come here ever again.” Lester later told the cops he fired without warning because he was “scared to death” of being robbed. Though he’s accused Yarl of fumbling with his door handle, the teen and his family have denied that allegation.
Amid celebrating his 17th with a Red Lobster feast, birthday cake, and a pinata, Ralph received an influx of blessings, per the Kansas City Star.
The teen and some classmates enjoyed an Alicia Keys concert in St. Louis in July. Keys had extended the offer in May. The GoFundMe, started by his aunt Faith, closed with $3.5 million in donations.
Another GoFundMe, started by a collective of musicians, raised over $14,000 to purchase a bass clarinet with all the frills for the budding musician.
Here’s What Next For Ralph Yarl Outside Of Seeking Justice Against Andrew Lester
And despite his self-described “headaches, trouble with sleep,” and off-and-on foggy mind, Yarl reportedly completed a local engineering internship this past summer.
Still, the trauma of the shooting looms despite how he may appear physically, his mother, Cleo Nagbe, said in June. Cleo claimed that her son’s brain has “slowed,” and “a lot has been taken from him.” For now, speaking to a therapist multiple times a week, per the Kansas City Star, has provided somewhat of a solution.
Next up on Yarl’s list of adventures is visiting the White House and touring college campuses. The Biden administration extended the offer amid the teen’s recovery in April, but a date for the visit remains undetermined.
Yarl also hopes to explore the campuses of Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, Texas A&M University, and Purdue University, per Kansas City Star.
In the meantime, Aunt Faith says he’s enjoying the little things, from driving to hanging with friends.
RELATED: (WATCH) Classmates Of Shot 16-Year-Old Ralph Yarl Come Together For ‘Unity Walk’