The Kansas City teenager who was shot in the head after going to the wrong house to pick up his siblings has gone public for the first time.
Ralph Yarl was on hand for the city’s Going the Distance for Brain Injury walk and run on Memorial Day holiday Monday.
Andrew Lester, 84, is accused of shooting the Black 17-year-old boy with a .32 pistol after he mistakenly rang the wrong doorbell on April 13. The white homeowner faces felony charges of first degree assault and armed criminal action.
“It’s nice to see this kind of support,” said Ralph’s mother, Cleo Nagbe. “I pray that the support is not just for Ralph. I pray that support comes a long way for everyone in this situation. “
Ralph and his family walked 1.5 miles and he told KMBC they practice distances of up to three miles.
But he said that the real challenge for his son is facing many people for the first time since the incident, which attracted the attention of the whole world.
“It’s mostly anxiety for him,” he said. “He is still socially difficult. So, I’m glad he got over it. I pray that he will overcome most of his social barriers after this.
Organizers of the event told the news station they were glad the teenager felt comfortable participating.
“Every person’s journey is different,” said Robin Abramowitz, the executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City.
“But knowing that others feel what you’re going through can make a huge difference in someone’s life.”
Ralph’s family said he has dealt with debilitating migraines and balance issues since the shooting as well as trauma and mood swings.
“It’s important for Ralph to see that he’s not alone,” said his aunt, Faith Spoonmore.