The shooting of a Black teenager in Missouri who mistakenly rang the doorbell of the wrong home while attempting to pick up his siblings has sparked outrage, protests and calls for the shooter’s arrest.
Protestors gathered on Sunday afternoon in Kanas City to show solidarity and call for accountability. They chanted, “justice for Ralph” and “Black lives matter,” and carried signs reading, “Ringing a doorbell is not a crime” and “The shooter should do the time,” footage from local news station KMBC shows.
On the evening of April 13, officers responded to reports of a shooting and arrived to find 16-year-old Ralph Yarl had been shot by a homeowner outside a residence, CNN reports.
Yarl’s parents had asked him to pick up his younger siblings at an address on 115th Terrace, but he accidentally went to a home on 115th Street, where he was shot, police said. The high school junior was reportedly shot twice and struck in the head and arm.
“Despite the severity of his injuries and the seriousness of his condition, Ralph is alive and recovering,” according to civil rights attorneys S. Lee Merritt and Benjamin Crump, who have been retained to represent Yarl and his family.
Merritt and Ben Crump Sunday criticized authorities in Kansas City for their treatment of the shooter, who they said is a white man and was released after 24 hours without charges.
“There can be no excuse for the release of this armed and dangerous suspect,” the lawyers said in a statement obtained by NBC News.
When asked whether the shooting may have been racially motivated, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Grave said, “The information that we have now, it does not say that that is racially motivated. That’s still an active investigation. But as a chief of police, I do recognize the racial components of this case.”
A GoFundMe page set up by Faith Spoonmore, who identified herself as Yarl’s aunt, to assist the family in raising funds for medical expenses had received more than $1 million in donations.
Yarl had been looking forward to graduating from high school and traveling to West Africa before beginning college, where he plans to concentrate in chemical engineering, according to his aunt’s fundraising page.
Spoonmore noted that the teen is a section leader in a marching band and is frequently seen with a musical instrument in hand. According to a February North Kansas City Schools newsletter, Yarl recently won Missouri All-State Band honorable mention for playing the Bass Clarinet.
“Life looks a lot different right now. Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally. The trauma he has to endure and survive is unimaginable,” the GoFundMe post reads.