Nine months after being shot by a white man for ringing the wrong doorbell, Ralph Yarl continues to beat the odds and has earned a spot in the Missouri all-state band.
The 17-year-old, who plays bass clarinet, was named second chair in the band and is one of only four students in the area to earn the prestigious honor, according to a post by Missouri’s North Kansas City Schools.
“Bravo to Eliza Cockrell and Stephen Kwon from Northtown, and Ralph Yarl and Carter Walters from Staley!” the post read. “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.”
“This is the young clarinetist’s first selection to the all-state band,” ABC News reported. According to Yarl’s mother, Cleo Nagbe, he earned an honorable mention in a previous year.
Yarl was shot in the head and the right arm by Andrew Lester, a homeowner in Kansas City, Missouri, after the teenager mistakenly arrived at Lester’s address to pick up his twin siblings on the evening of April 13, 2023.
Yarl said he believed he was going to the correct address to pick up his siblings during a preliminary hearing in August for Lester. Instead, he went to Lester’s home, one block away from the intended address.
During an interview with ABC News last June, Yarl said he was surprised that Lester confronted him with a gun and assumed the elderly man was the grandfather of his brothers’ friend.
He said that Lester said very little before shooting. “He only said five words,” Yarl said later, recalling the 85-year-old Lester saying to him before firing shots: “‘Don’t come here ever again.’”
Lester was charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action, both of which are felonies. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $200,000 bond on April 18. According to Missouri Courts, his jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 7 this year.