Ralph Yarl, the Black adolescent who was shot twice by a White Kansas City homeowner after going to the incorrect residence to pick up his younger brothers on April 13, recently spoke up for the first time about the April 13 event.
According to PEOPLE, Yarl, 17, recalled the incident during an appearance with Good Morning America on Tuesday. Andrew Lester, 84, opened fire on the Black teen, shooting him in the head and arm.
When the show’s co-anchor, Robin Roberts, asked Yarl if “there were any words exchanged” before Lester fired at him, the Black teen said the White homeowner “only said five words: ‘Don’t come here ever again.’”
“He points [the gun] at me … so I kinda, like, brace, and I turn my head,” he added. “Then it happened. And then I’m on the ground … and then I fall on the glass. The shattered glass. And then before I know it I’m running away shouting, ‘Help me, help me.’”
Yarl also revealed that though he had sustained gunshot wounds, he still managed to stay “alert” because his “instincts took over.” The teen recalled that multiple people declined to assist him during his attempt to find help, until someone eventually came to his aid. He also said the first house he approached closed the door and locked it, per PEOPLE.
“So then I go to the next house across the street,” he recalled. “No one answers. And the house to the right of that house, I go there and someone opens the door and tells me to wait for the police.”
After handing himself in to authorities on April 18, Lester was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal activity. The suspect, who told police he opened fire because he feared someone was attempting to force their way into his home, was released on $200,000 bond. Though Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson stated that there was a “racial component to this case” at the time, he did not elaborate.
Despite his near-fatal experience, Yarl told Good Morning America he won’t let what happened get in the way of his happiness as he’s a normal kid. “Classical music kinda resonates with me,” he said. “Just the feeling that it creates and the fact that you can make it yourself … it kinda invigorates me.”
“I’m just a kid,” he continued. “I’m not larger than life because this happened to me. I’m just going to keep doing the stuff that makes me happy and just living my life the best I can and not let this bother me.”