Andrew Lester Was 'Scared to Death' by Ralph Yarl Trying to Pull Open His Exterior Door at Night, Affidavit Says

Chris Menahan
Apr. 18, 2023

Andrew Lester, 84, told police he was "scared to death" by Ralph Yarl attempting to pull open the exterior storm door of his Kansas City, Missouri home at night and only shot him because "he believed he was protecting himself from a physical confrontation and could not take the chance" of the large male "coming in" to his house where he lives all alone, according to a police affidavit.

Lester turned himself into police on Tuesday after being charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action for shooting 16-year-old Yarl at his doorstep on Thursday. Lester was released on Tuesday after being booked and posting a $200,000 bond.

"Lester stated he opened the interior door [to his home], and saw a black male approximately 6 feet tall pulling on the exterior storm door handle," the police's affidavit said. "He stated he believed someone was attempting to break into the house, and shot twice within a few seconds of opening the door."

"Lester stated the male ran away and he immediately used his home phone to call 911," the statement continued. "Lester stated he had never seen the male before. He stated no words were exchanged during the incident and the male had not said anything prior to pulling on the door handle. Lester stated it was the last thing he wanted to do, but he was 'scared to death' due to the male's size and Lester's age (84) and inability to defend himself."

"He believed he was protecting himself from a physical confrontation and could not take the chance of the male coming in. Lester was visibly upset and repeatedly expressed concern for the victim," the statement said.

Police were unable to interview Yarl immediately after the event due to his injuries. When they were able to interview him a day later, Yarl said he rang the doorbell and "waited outside the front door."

"[Yarl] stated the male inside took a long time but finally opened the door holding a firearm," the police affidavit says. "He stated he was immediately shot in the head and fell to the ground. [Yarl] stated while on the ground he was shot a second time in the arm. [Yarl] advised he did not pull on the door and this was the first time coming to the residence. He stated he got up and ran away to keep from being shot. [Yarl] stated the male who resides [at the home] stated, "Don't come around here.'"

The affidavit also noted that police reviewed Lester's home surveillance system but found it hadn't been functional for nearly a year.

Yarl was able to walk out of the hospital on Sunday after just three days and his family says he's expected to make a full recovery.

According to the NY Times, Yarl's father told them on Monday that the first bullet "hit his son's forehead on the side of his face, close to the hairline" and the second "hit his right arm."

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