A teenager was shot by a homeowner in Kansas City, MO after showing up to the wrong house by mistake. Photo Credit: Tony Webster, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

A teenager raises awareness for brain injury after being shot in the head

By: Iciss Wilkerson

KANSAS CITY, MO (mocsnews.com)- An African American teenager is set to attend a walk/run event in Overland Park, Kansas to raise awareness for brain injury after being shot in the head on April 13 when he mistakenly went to the wrong house to pick up his siblings.

A month ago, Ralph Yarl was set to pick up his siblings but mistakenly arrived at a house that was owned by Andrew Lester– a White 84-year-old man. Lester shot Yarl in the head and will face two felony charges, Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson announced early Monday evening. 

Yarl is an honors student who was attempting to pick up his younger siblings when he was shot. Lee Merritt/via REUTERS

According to Yarl’s aunt, Faith Spoonmore, the 17-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury that caused migraines and worsened his mental health. This also affected Yarl’s mobility to play his favorite musical instruments- the clarinet and the bassoon.

“It makes it very real. You know, it’s one thing when you see it on the news and you hear about it when it comes into your house,” she said. “Ralph is currently living with me. He’s been with me since the event. He is not comfortable going back to that area,”.

Since then, Yarl has spent time in the hospital but was released on April 16, just three days after being shot by the Kansas City homeowner, and went home to further his recovery. The teenager interacted with family, friends, and other brain injury survivors on Memorial Day at the “Going the Distance for Brain Injury” event.

Ralph Yarl attended the “Going the Distance for Brain Injury” event Monday morning in Kansas. Makenzie Koch, FOX 4 Kansas

According to the Brain Injury Association, nearly 21,000 people in the Kansas City region are impacted annually by a brain injury. 

This yearly racing event takes place at Loose Park in Kansas City where many gather to raise awareness for those who suffer from brain injuries. This event and the shooting drew worldwide attention and prompted rallies and protests in the Kansas City area. 

Lester has pleaded not guilty to armed criminal action and first-degree assault charges. 

His next court hearing is set for June 1. 

About Iciss Wilkerson

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