Ralph Yarl, Black Missouri Teen Shot in Head, Secures Spot on All-State Band

Months after the tragedy, a Black adolescent who was accidentally shot in the head by a white homeowner in Missouri after he rang the incorrect doorbell has been accepted into the all-state band.

Ralph Yarl received the distinguished award last week, along with three other children in the area, according to a Facebook post made by North Kansas City Schools. According to that, Yarl, who plays bass clarinet, was awarded second chair in the all-state band.

“Bravo to Eliza Cockrell and Stephen Kwon from Northtown, and Ralph Yarl and Carter Walters from Staley! They’ve earned a spot in the 2024 Missouri All State Orchestra or Band and will perform at the Missouri Music Educators Association annual conference in January at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Lake of the Ozarks,” According to the statements.

On Tuesday night, there was no quick response from Yarl’s family.

On the evening of April 13, Yarl, then 16 years old, was attempting to pick up his brothers from a friend’s house when Andrew Lester shot him through the door because he had gone to the wrong Kansas City location, according to authorities.

Yarl went to Northeast 115th Street, which is only a block away, by mistake when picking up his brothers from a house at Northeast 115th Terrace. Yarl claimed that the person who attacked him just spoke to him briefly.

In a June interview with ABC News, he said, “He only said five words: ‘Don’t come here ever again.”

Yarl’s shooting drew national headlines and sparked a dialogue about the treatment of Black people. Yarl told ABC News that he was surprised when he was confronted by an older man with a gun.

“I hear the door open. I see this old man, and I’m assuming, ‘Oh, this must be like their grandpa,’ and then he pulls out his gun, and I’m like, whoa!” Yarl stated.

“So I back up. He points it at me. So I kind of, like, brace and I turn my head. I’m thinking there’s no way he’s actually going to shoot, right? The door [isn’t] even open. He’s going to shoot through his glass door and glass is going get everywhere? And then it happened.”


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