Ralph Yarl was shot by 84-year-old Andrew Daniel Lester after the teenager mistakenly knocked on his front door. Yarl was sent by his parents to pick up his siblings at a nearby residence. However, he mistakenly missed the home by less than a block, knocking on Lester’s door. Lester responded by shooting Yarl in the arm and the head. 

Yarl’s father has stated that Yarl is recovering and praised the prosecution’s swift action

Ralph Yarl’s father, Paul Yarl, told The Kansas City Star that Yarl was recovering in his mother’s home. “He continues to improve,” Paul said. “He is responsive and is making good progress. The focus is on healing, and we haven’t reached the point of asking him to talk or walk around.”

Yarl’s mother, a nurse, has taken time off to aid her son’s recovery. Paul said the entire family needs time to heal. “They [Yarl’s siblings] need to heal too,” Paul said. “They’re in shock.”

People have contributed more than $2.6 million to fund Yarl’s recovery. “We are grateful, and I know Ralph is grateful too for the love and prayers and support,” Paul said. Paul expressed gratitude that Yarl survived the attack. Yarl has a long and challenging road ahead of him, as described by his GoFundMe page:

“Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally. The trauma that he has to endure and survive is unimaginable. He is our miracle. We have heard these types of stories many times, and unfortunately, most black boys are not alive to get another chance.”

Yarl’s family continues to participate in protests seeking justice for the teenager. “This was not an ‘error’, this was a hate crime,” Yarl’s aunt, Faith Spoonmore, told The Kansas City Defender. “You don’t shoot a child in the head because he rang your doorbell.”

Andrew Lester faces charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Paul expressed relief that prosecutors acted swiftly to charge Lester. “I’m happy,” Paul said. “This is what we’ve been looking for. It’s here.”

Yarl’s mother said she and the doctors couldn’t understand how he survived

According to the BBC, Yarl’s mother talked to CBS News about his ordeal. She stated that Yarl was doing ‘considerably well.’ She described mornings as the hardest, but added that Yarl’s ‘spirits are in the right place’. “He is in good hands,” she said.

Yarl’s mother stated that he was shot on the top of his left eye and in the arm. The bullet remained lodged in Yarl’s head for twelve hours, she said.

Yarl’s mother revealed that doctors could not understand how Yarl had survived the close-range gunshot wound to the head – and neither could she. She confirmed that Yarl often didn’t carry his phone when sent to pick his siblings. Yarl’s mother said that instead of getting hugs from his twin siblings, Yarl got ‘a couple of bullets’.

She stated that Yarl shared jokes with President Biden, a fellow clarinet player. CBS’ Gayle King teared up as she concluded the interview with Yarl’s mother.