Andrew Lester, an 84-year-old homeowner in Kansas City, has been charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action after shooting 16-year-old Ralph Yarl om April 13.
Yarl had gone to the wrong address to pick up his siblings and knocked on Lester’s door. According to the probable cause statement, Lester fired at Yarl through a locked glass door, believing he was trying to break in. Yarl was hospitalized with gunshot wounds to his head and arm but has since been released and is recovering at home.
Lester told police that he fired immediately after answering the doorbell and seeing Yarl pulling on the exterior door handle. He claimed that he thought Yarl was trying to break in and that he was scared due to the boy’s size. However, Yarl denied pulling on the door, according to the probable cause document.
Initially, there were few details regarding the incident, leaving much unknown about what had truly occurred. However, with the unveiling of new information, it is clear that there was no justification for the homeowner’s decision to shoot Yarl. If the homeowner was truly afraid for his life, then he should have never opened the door. Furthermore, shooting Yarl after he had already fallen to the ground is certainly not a justifiable action.
The ownership of a firearm comes with immense responsibility. It is crucial to have an understanding of when it is appropriate to use such a weapon and when it is not. Simply being afraid of the unknown on the other side of a door does not offer a license to shoot, and it is vital to recognize that before taking any drastic actions.