Ralph Yarl, teen shot in head after ringing wrong doorbell, earns spot on all-state band in Missouri

A Black teenager who was shot in the head by a white homeowner in Missouri after he mistakenly rang the wrong doorbell has secured a spot in the all-state band months after the shooting.

Last week, North Kansas City Schools publicized on Facebook that Ralph Yarl was one of four students in the area to earn the prestigious recognition. Yarl plays bass clarinet and was named second chair in the all-state band, according to the post.

“Bravo to Eliza Cockrell and Stephen Kwon from Northtown, and Ralph Yarl and Carter Walters from Staley! They’ve earned a spot in the 2024 Missouri All State Orchestra or Band and will perform at the Missouri Music Educators Association annual conference in January at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Lake of the Ozarks,” the statement read.

Yarl’s family could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Yarl, then 16, was trying to pick up his brothers from a friend’s home on the night of April 13 and had gone to the wrong Kansas City address when Andrew Lester shot him through the door, officials said.

Yarl was picking up his brothers from a home at Northeast 115th Terrace but mistakenly went to Northeast 115th Street, just a block away. Yarl said his alleged attacker said only a few words to him.

“He only said five words: ‘Don’t come here ever again,’” he recalled in an interview with ABC News in June.

Yarl’s shooting drew national headlines and sparked a dialogue about the treatment of Black people.

Yarl told ABC News that he was surprised when he was confronted by an older man with a gun.

“I hear the door open. I see this old man, and I’m assuming, ‘Oh, this must be like their grandpa,’ and then he pulls out his gun, and I’m like, whoa!” Yarl said.

“So I back up. He points it at me. So I kind of, like, brace and I turn my head. I’m thinking there’s no way he’s actually going to shoot, right? The door [isn’t] even open. He’s going to shoot through his glass door and glass is going get everywhere? And then it happened.”

After being shot, Yarl said, he fell on some shattered glass but then mustered up the strength to run away and yell for help.

In the June interview, Yarl also said he was suffering lingering effects that included his mind feeling hazy.

“There are a lot of things going on inside my head that are not normal,” he said. “Sometimes my mind is just foggy, like I can’t concentrate on the things that would be easy for me to do.”

In August, Yarl testified in court that after he was shot in the head, he fell to the ground and was shot again in the arm.

The same month, a judge ordered Lester to stand trial. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action.