Bullet was in Ralph Yarl’s head about 12 hours, effects will last a while: mother

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 8:53 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 3:59 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A 16-year-old continued his recovery at home Tuesday morning after he was released from the hospital the day before.

Cleo Nagbe, Ralph’s mother, spoke with CBS Mornings to update her son’s condition and how the family has dealt with the teen being injured in Thursday’s shooting.

“He’s able to communicate mostly when he feels like it, but mostly he just sits there and stares and the buckets of tears just rolls down his eyes,” Nagbe said. “You can see that he just replays the situation over and over again and that just doesn’t stop my tears either. Because when you see your kid just sits there and constantly, and the tears are just rolling from both sides of his eyes, there’s nothing you can say to him.”

Yarl was shot Thursday evening after attempting to pick up his siblings from an evening at their friend’s house. He mistook NE 115th Street for NE 115th Terrace and drove up to a home.

“While he was standing there [at the front door], his brothers didn’t run outside,” Nagbe said. “But he got a couple of bullets in his body instead of a couple of twins coming out and giving him a hug.”

ALSO READ: Family of teen shot on Northland doorstep speaks about his achievements, the road ahead

Andrew Lester said he feared someone was trying to break into his home. Prosecutors filed criminal charges against him Monday afternoon, accusing him of first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

Ralph ran off to nearby homes asking for people to call 911. He was taken to the hospital that night with serious injuries. He suffered a gunshot wound to his head, another to his upper right arm.

“He had the bullet [in his head] for about 12 hours before it was taken out, so that injury is extensive,” Nagbe told CBS Mornings. “The residual effect of that injury is going to stay with him for quite a while.”

He was released from the hospital Saturday, and Cleo Nagbe stated he is surrounded by multiple family members who are medical professionals. She said her 16-year-old son is doing considerably well and that his spirits are in a good place.

“Physically, mornings are hard,” she added.

Attorney Lee Merritt sat with Nagbe and addressed the case he and the family are pursuing. Merritt, retained with Ben Crump, stated they will meet with Clay County prosecutor Zachary Thompson Tuesday to learn more of the comment made Monday evening on race being a factor in the shooting.

ALSO READ: Ralph Yarl described as ‘excellent student and talented musician’ at Staley High School

Merritt went on to say he will look to see if any civil rights were violated in the incident.

“We saw law enforcement respond by essentially criminalizing the boy,” he said, referring to releasing Lester less than 24 hours after in the incident and not being charged right away.

Merritt stated the incident is one of a trend with violence against people based on the color of their skin.

“It sounds awfully familiar,” he said. “Being Black has been seen as a threat often in this country. It is unjustifiable for him to use deadly force against this so-called threat. Again, Blackness is not a threat.”

Lester was not yet taken into custody, as of 8 a.m. Tuesday.