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Kansas City PD is preparing evidence for the Clay County prosecutor in the shooting of a Black teenager attempting to pick up his younger brothers from a friend’s house on April 13.
“I want everyone to know that I am listening,” Police Chief Stacey Graves said Sunday at a news conference at Kansas City police headquarters downtown, “and I understand the concern we are receiving from the community.”
“This is not something that has been dismissed, marginalized, diminished in any way. This is something that is getting the full attention of the Kansas City Police Department,” she said, according to CBS Kansas City, Mo. affiliate KCTV.
The Kansas City Star reported the 16-year-old boy, who family members have identified online as Ralph Yarl, was hospitalized Thursday night after he was shot while trying to pick up his younger twin brothers. Police said he went to the wrong house and was shot there.
CBS News reports officials would not confirm the number of times the homeowner shot the victim or where his injuries were.
Investigators also will consider whether or not the suspect was protected within the Stand Your Ground laws, Graves said.
Police initially said Yarl was in stable condition but had a life-threatening injury
His current condition has not been released, other than he is stable.
Graves said Sunday that the homeowner who allegedly shot the teen was taken into custody Thursday and placed on a 24-hour hold. While searching the scene for evidence, detectives found the firearm allegedly used.
Law enforcement released the suspect pending further investigation after consulting with the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office.
Missouri law allows a person to be held up to 24 hours for a felony investigation. At that point, the person must be released or arrested and formally charged. In order to arrest someone, law enforcement needs a formal victim statement, forensic evidence and other information for a case file to be completed, Graves said.
Because of the teen’s injuries, Graves said police haven’t been able to get a victim statement.
Kansas City community pulls up for Ralph Yarl
Mayor Quinton Lucas, who attended the news conference, said the police department understands the community’s concern that the shooting could be racially motivated.
He said some members of the police department attended a protest Sunday in the neighborhood where the shooting took place to listen to community members’ concerns.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump told The Star on Sunday that his Florida-based law firm has been retained by the teen’s family.
“You can’t just shoot people without having justification when somebody comes knocking on your door and knocking on your door is not justification. This guy should be charged,” Crump said.
Homeowner allegedly shot Yarl in the head and then a second time after falling to the ground
The family also has retained Lee Merritt, a Texas-based civil rights attorney who has previously represented the family of Cameron Lamb, who was fatally shot by KCPD detective Eric DeValkenaere in 2019.
CBS News reports Crump said based on what he was told by the teen’s family, the shooter is White.
“It is inescapable not to acknowledge the racial dynamics at play,” he said.
Yarl meant to pick up his brothers from a friend’s house on 115th Terrace. He ended up ringing the doorbell at a home on 115th Street, Faith Spoonmore, the teen’s aunt, wrote online.
Kansas City police officers said they responded to the area around 10 p.m.
“Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally,” Spoonmore wrote in a GoFundMe she started to raise money for Yarl’s medical bills and other expenses.