Teen Shot After Ringing Wrong Doorbell Joins 'Team Ralph'

Black teen took part in annual fundraiser
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2023 8:00 AM CDT

Ralph Yarl, the Missouri teen shot last month by a white homeowner in Kansas City after he rang the wrong doorbell, has since been recuperating in private from his traumatic brain injury. Over Memorial Day weekend, however, the 17-year-old made what the AP says was his first big public appearance since the shooting: at an event to raise money and awareness for brain injury survivors. Ralph, along with family members and friends, showed up Monday at Kansas City's Loose Park for the Going the Distance for Brain Injury run/walk as part of "Team Ralph," which sported neon-green T-shirts, per KCTV.

"It's important for Ralph to see that he is not alone," his aunt, Faith Spoonmore, tells the Kansas City Star. "We want him to see there are people still living good lives, even after this." Ralph's mother tells KCTV that the event, a decadeslong Memorial Day tradition in Kansas City, wasn't a physical challenge for Ralph—she and her son walk 2 to 3 miles every other day together—but that he did struggle with anxiety beforehand. "Socially, it's still hard for him," Cloe Nagbe says. "I'm glad he was able to overcome this."

Ralph didn't speak during the event, but he could be seen ambling about, hugging other participants and smiling. Nagbe, meanwhile, did speak, giving an update on her son's recovery, per ABC News. "Everybody's asking me, 'Have you gone back to work yet, has Ralph gone back to school yet?' That's not the case. A brain injury is a process, it's not an event. It takes time." Spoonmore says Ralph has been living with her since the shooting, as he's "not comfortable" going back to his home, near where he was shot.

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He has also suffered from migraines since the shooting, which have kept him from playing the clarinet and bassoon like he used to, and he now tends to isolate himself more, Spoonmore adds. "He's not doing the things that he loves to do, and it's like he's a shell," she tells ABC. Andrew Lester, the 84-year-old man accused of shooting Yarl, who was 16 at the time and had gone to the wrong house to pick up his younger siblings, has been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action, both felonies. Lester pleaded not guilty and was released on a $200,000 bond. His next court date is set for Thursday. (More Ralph Yarl stories.)

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