KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Officials in Kansas City, Missouri, on Sunday addressed the shooting of a teenager allegedly by a homeowner after the 16-year-old visited the wrong home Thursday night. Nearly 1,000 people marched to the home where 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot.
The city’s chief of police and mayor as well as the Clay County prosecuting attorney gathered for a news conference that coincided with that march. The protest was organized by The People’s Coalition called “We Take Care of Our Own,” held near the scene of the incident.
KCPD Chief Stacey Graves on Sunday promised a complete and thorough review. “I want everyone to know that I’m listening, and I understand the concern that we are receiving from the community,” she said.
“The information that we have now, it does not say that it’s racially motivated,” Graves said. “That’s still an active investigation, but as a chief of police, I do recognize the racial components of this case. I do recognize and understand the community’s concern and the community’s response to this particular incident.”
On Thursday night, police initially said Yarl went to pick up his siblings but mixed up the address. He intended to go to Northeast 115th Terrace but went to Northeast 115th Street. That’s when the homeowner allegedly shot him. According to his family, he was shot twice, including once in the head. Police would not confirm how many times or where he was shot.
The homeowner was taken in for questioning and later released pending further investigation. Graves addressed that, too. “A person can be held up for 24 hours for investigation of a felony, at which time they’re required by Missouri law to be charged or released,” the chief said. “The vast majority of cases—to include violent crime—involve the suspect being released pending further investigation.” Graves added, “In this case, the prosecutor requires more information from investigators that would take more than 24 hours to compile.”
Graves added that the homeowner is not viewed as a flight risk. “[They are] cooperating and we have taken [the potential for flight risk] into consideration,” Graves said. “That is something that we look at. But even in this situation, there is more that we need to glean from that incident to put that together for prosecutorial review.”
KCPD would not say who called 911 Thursday, saying it is part of the active investigation. Police hope to soon speak with the teen, who was described by his father, Paul Yarl, as “quiet” and “just a good kid, a smart kid.”
Police say the teen is in stable condition. Officers are compiling a detailed case file to present to Clay Count Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson.
“There will be a thorough review in the prosecutor’s office,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “As with every case that comes through Kansas City, we will make sure we do all we can to be fair, to make sure that we’re as expeditious as possible, and more than anything to make sure that everyone—no matter their background—knows that justice can be obtained here in Kansas City.”