Ralph Yarl’s mother speaks to ‘CBS Mornings’ about her son’s recovery

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 7:05 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Ralph Yarl’s mother described what happened the night her son was shot for ringing the wrong doorbell while trying to pick up his twin brothers from a friend’s house.

Cleo Nagbe, Yarl’s mother, spoke with “CBS Mornings” Gayle King Tuesday.

“Ralph was shot on top of his left eye, in the left frontal lobe. Then he was shot again in the upper right arm,” Nagbe said. “He had the bullet for up to 12 hours before it was taken out. That injury is extensive. The residual effect of that injury is going to stay with him for quite a while.”

Nagbe said her son’s spirits are high but, physically, mornings are difficult for him. She said both relatives and doctors are amazed by how well he is doing considering he was shot at close range.

“He is home, but I want to remind everybody that Ralph is home because he is surrounded by a team of medical professionals,” Nagbe said. “I am a nurse for almost 20 years. His aunt is physical therapy. His uncle is a medical professional. That’s why he is home.”

According to Nagbe, she allowed Ralph’s twin brothers to play at a friend’s house until 10 p.m. on the night Ralph was shot. Around 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, she asked Ralph to pick up his brothers from their friend’s house. She said he accidentally confused 115th Street and 115th Terrace, so he rang the doorbell at the wrong house.

“He went and rang the doorbell. He was supposed to stay outside and his brothers were going to come and get in the car. That was what was supposed to happen,” Nagbe said. “While he was standing there, his brothers didn’t run outside. He got a couple of bullets in his body instead of a couple of twins coming out and giving him a hug.”

While he can walk and talk, she said Ralph will have a long road to recovery. She said it is a blessing that the bullet fragments that remain are minimal.

Ralph Yarl’s aunt, Faith Spoonmore, told CNN that -- in addition to his physical injuries -- Ralph and his relatives are struggling to make sense of something that was senseless.

“There is a major part of Ralph that died on Thursday. He lost a part of himself that day. A lot has changed,” Spoonmore said. “The way he is going to walk through this world is going to be a lot different because of what happened. There is a lot of healing that has to happen.”

The man accused of shooting the teenager, 84-year-old Andrew D. Lester, surrendered to the Clay County Detention Center Tuesday afternoon. A warrant was previously issued for his arrest. Lester faces two felony charges for assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. His bond was set at $200,000.


From today’s 6 p.m. newscast: Ahead of rally, leaders continue calling for justice following shooting of Ralph Yarl

Full video of all speeches: Civil rights leaders call for justice following shooting of Ralph Yarl

Ralph Yarl’s attorney, Lee Merritt, speaks to the media about the case

Andrew Lester bonds out after surrendering himself at Clay County jail

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

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

President Biden invites Ralph Yarl to visit the White House