Update: 86-year-old White Man Charged To Court Over Shooting Black Teenage Boy

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The 86-year-old White man in the United States has been charged with two felonies after he allegedly shot a 16-year-old Black teenager who mistook his home for another.

The homeowner, Andrew Lester, faces charges of felony assault and armed criminal action for the shooting, which left teenager Ralph Yarl hospitalised with wounds to his head and right arm.

Zachary Thompson, the prosecutor for Clay County, Missouri, explained in a press conference on Monday that the charge of armed criminal action can incur a penalty of up to 15 years, but felony assault “carries with it a range of punishment of up to life”.

When asked why an attempted murder charge or a hate crime charge was not pursued, Thompson said that the “A felony” was the “highest level of offence in the state of Missouri”.

Other charges may not carry that same level of range of punishment,” Thompson said.

He added: “I don’t want to litigate this case in the press. It’s been my goal from the very beginning to get justice for the child involved in the case. And I don’t want to jeopardise that by talking about the facts to the media.”

Thompson did say, however, that “there was a racial component to the case”.

Lester’s bond was set at $200,000. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Monday.

In a statement released on social media afterwards, the legal team representing Yarl — civil rights lawyers Lee Merritt and Ben Crump — applauded the criminal charges but questioned the delay in filing them, quoting the legal principle that “justice delayed is justice denied”.

We are relieved that charges are finally moving forward but are disappointed in the delay that necessitated national outcry for an obvious crime. We are cautiously optimistic about accountability and justice,” the lawyers wrote.They also shared that US President Joe Biden had personally called Yarl’s family with prayers for his recovery. The Democratic president has made the reform of US gun laws a prominent part of his platform.

Yarl’s shooting on April 13 in Kansas City prompted a national outcry after his family explained that the 16-year-old had been in the neighbourhood to pick up his younger twin brothers. They allege that Yarl simply rang the wrong doorbell, resulting in his being shot twice.

“He didn’t have his phone. He mistakenly went to the wrong house, one block away from the house where his siblings were,” his aunt Faith Spoonmore wrote on a GoFundMe page to raise money for his medical bills. “The man in the home opened the door, looked my nephew in the eye, and shot him in the head.”

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