U.S.

Ralph Yarl makes Missouri All-State Band months after being shot

The 17-year-old is a gifted bass clarinetist and will play second chair in the band.

Ralph Yarl
Scripps News Kansas City
SMS

Ralph Yarl continues to defy the odds. Nearly a year after being shot in the head after going to the wrong house to pick up his sibling, the Black teenager was named to the 2024 Missouri All-State Band. 

Ralph, a high school senior, is a gifted bass clarinetist and will play second chair in the band. The 17-year-old will perform with the band at the Missouri Music Educators Association's annual conference later this month. 

Ralph's recovery from a traumatic brain injury after the shooting gained the attention of the nation. The teenager reportedly spoke with President Joe Biden. His mother told Gayle King on "CBS Mornings" that her son and the president bonded over music during their conversation.

The man who shot Ralph, 84-year-old Andrew Lester, is charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. He has pleaded not guilty, claiming he was acting in self defense because an unknown person was at his door at night. 

During a hearing in 2023, Ralph recalled Lester telling him, "Don't come here ever again" when he shot him. During that hearing, Ralph's supporters wore T-shirts that said, "Ringing a doorbell is not a crime."

Lester is scheduled to go on trial in October. 

Ralph Yarl earns national merit award months after being shot in head
Ralph Yarl earns national merit award months after being shot in head

Ralph Yarl earns national merit award months after being shot in head

The 17-year-old was one of just six students in his Kansas City school district to score in the top 3% on the National Merit Qualifying Test.

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