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Ralph Yarl

Source: Family / Ben Crump

During a recent interview with Good Morning America, Ralph Yarl, the Black teen who was shot in the head by his white neighbor, recently sat down with Robin Roberts to share his story with the world. 

On April 13, Ralph Yarl was shot in the head and the arm by Andrew Lester after the teen went to the wrong house to pick up his twin brothers. 

Lester was charged with one count of felony assault in the first degree and one count of armed criminal action, for which he could serve up to life in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty in April. 

During Yarl’s interview with GMA, Yarl explains in chilling detail the moments before and after he was shot, telling Roberts he knocked on the door and then waited for “a long time” until Lester opened the door with a gun in hand.  

“He points [the gun] at me … so I kinda, like, brace and I turn my head,” Yarl told Roberts during the interview. “Then it happened. And then I’m on the ground … and then I fall on the glass. The shattered glass. And then before I know it I’m running away shouting, ‘Help me, help me.'”

Yarl also told GMA that after he was shot he noticed he was bleeding from his head, but was surprised he was so “alert.”  

After his “instincts took over” he went looking for help, but says the first house he went to declined to help him and locked the door, according to ABC News.

“So then I go to the next house across the street. No one answers. And the house to the right of that house, I go there and someone opens the door and tells me to wait for the police,” he said.

Yarl’s mother Cleo Nagbe, who joined him during the interview, described the incident as “traumatic” and told Roberts that the family has since moved, but feels “overwhelmingly grateful” for the love and support from the community after the shooting. 

“Every day I sit and I read a letter and I cry,” she said while speaking about the folks who’ve donated and written letters of support. 

Yarl suffered a traumatic brain injury after being shot and recovery hasn’t been easy. But the young man says he’s been leaning on music to help him cope.

“Classical music kinda resonates with me,” he said. “Just the feeling that it creates and the fact that you can make it yourself … it kinda invigorates me.”

Yarl’s aunt Faith Spoonmore told AP that since the shooting, Ralph suffers from debilitating migraines, he has issues with his balance and struggles with his emotions as well as mood swings, but the family will be there to support him regardless.

“It’s important for Ralph to see that he is not alone,” said Spoonmore.

Yarl made his first public appearance after the shooting in May, joining family, friends and supporters at the annual Going the Distance for Brain Injury Memorial Day race in Kansas City, Missouri. 

During the race, supporters of Yarl donned “Team Ralph” shirts encouraging the teen to continue fighting through recovery.


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