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Black teen shot after ringing the wrong doorbell while picking up his siblings, police say

Ralph Paul Yarl, 16, was shot twice outside a home in Kansas City, Missouri, after he mistakenly arrived at the wrong residence to pick up his siblings, authorities said.
/ Source: TODAY

Authorities in Kansas City, Missouri, said detectives are "thoroughly" investigating after police said a homeowner shot a Black teenager on Thursday after the 16-year-old rang the doorbell of the wrong home.

The teen was shot twice in the head and arm when he mistakenly arrived at a residence in the 1100 block of Northeast 115th Street — instead of 1100 block of Northeast 115th Terrace — to pick up his siblings, according to lawyers for his family and NBC affiliate KSHB.

Prominent civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Lee Merritt, who have been hired by the teenager's family, called for Kansas City officials to "identify, arrest and prosecute to the full extent of the law the man responsible for this horrendous and unjustifiable shooting."

"There can be no excuse for the release of this armed and dangerous suspect," Crump and Merritt said in a statement.

The family's attorneys identified the victim as 16-year-old Ralph Paul Yarl, and criticized police for releasing the shooter, who they described as a white man. Police said Yarl was in stable condition on Sunday following the shooting.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said during a press conference Sunday the alleged suspect was taken into custody after the incident and held for 24 hours, the maximum amount of time a person can be held for a felony before they have to be charged or released, according to Missouri state law.

The vast majority of felony suspects are released after 24 hours while investigations are ongoing, Graves said, adding many are re-arrested once enough evidence is gathered to file charges.

Graves said a firearm was recovered from the scene and taken as evidence. Officials have not identified the alleged suspect.

Detectives are working "as expeditiously and as thoroughly as we can," to investigate Yarl's case, Graves said.

"As soon as the case is complete, it will be presented to the Clay County prosecutor for their review," she said.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied Sunday outside of the residence where Yarl was shot as word of the shooting spread on social media, according to KSHB.

Faith Spoonmore, Yarl’s aunt, told KSHB at the protest Yarl is "healing" from the shooting.

Graves and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas assured the public the case will be thoroughly and swiftly investigated.

"I want everyone to know that I am listening, and I understand the concern we are receiving from the community," Graves said.