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Ralph Yarl has ‘hard’ mornings but is recovering well from being shot after ringing wrong doorbell, mom says 

"He got a couple of bullets in his body instead of a couple of twins coming out and giving him a hug,” Cleo Nagbe told "CBS Mornings" of the Kansas City shooting that severely injured her teen son.
Ralph Yarl.
Ralph Yarl.Ben Crump Law via AP

The mother of the Black teen who was shot twice in Kansas City after mistakenly ringing the wrong doorbell says that he’s doing “considerably well” and that doctors can't explain his speedy recovery. 

Ralph Paul Yarl, 16, has “hard” mornings, but “his spirits are in a good place” following the April 13 shooting, his mother, Cleo Nagbe, said Tuesday on “CBS Mornings.

Yarl was shot twice after he mistakenly went to a home in the 1100 block of Northeast 115th Street, instead of Northeast 115th Terrace, to pick up his younger twin brothers. And that's when a homeowner opened fire on him.

“He went and rang the doorbell and he was supposed to stay outside and his brothers were supposed to run outside, get in the car and come home. That was supposed to happen,” Nagbe said.

“His brothers didn’t run outside, but he got a couple of bullets in his body instead of a couple of twins coming out and giving him a hug,” she said.

The shooting sparked national outrage and calls for the shooter to be arrested, with local protests and celebrities decrying the violence.

After much public furor, Andrew Lester, a white man in his 80s, was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action on Monday night, the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney announced.

house where 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot
Dried egg on the front of the house Monday where 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot after he went to the wrong address to pick up his younger brothers in Kansas City, Mo. Charlie Riedel / AP

Nagbe said that Ralph's injury is extensive and “the residual effect of that injury is going to stay with him for quite a while.”

“Ralph was shot on top of his left eye, I would say in the left frontal lobe. And then he was shot again in the upper right arm. He was shot, he had the bullet up here for about, let’s say, up to 12 hours before it was taken out,” Nagbe said.

Ralph was hospitalized Thursday and released Saturday, his family’s attorney Lee Merritt said. 

Nagbe said that her son in “good hands” at home as she is a nurse, his aunt is a physical therapist and his uncle is a medical professional. 

She revealed that Ralph’s doctors can't explain how he was able to not only survive the shooting, but recover so well. 

“Yesterday I talked to his pediatrician and she said, 'So the CT said that there’s just minimal fragments of the bullet in his brain,'” Nagbe said. “She’s like ‘How?’ And I said ‘I don’t know.’ She’s like ‘Bless God.’”

“Because if you get shot at that close of a range and the CT says that and the doctor doesn’t understand how, then I don’t understand how,” she added. 

In the incident, Lester told police he believed someone was attempting to break into the house and shot twice “within a few seconds of opening the door,” the probable cause statement said.

The statement said that Lester said he was “scared to death” due to Ralph’s size and Lester’s age and “inability to defend himself.” Police noted he was "visibly upset" and "repeatedly expressed concern for the victim."

Responding to Lester's account of the shooting, Merritt said on “CBS Mornings," "Blackness is not a threat."

“When we hear him say ‘I feared for my life’ and we know that the only thing he was being confronted with was a 16-year-old ringing his doorbell, it is obviously unjustifiable for him to decide to use deadly force against this so-called threat," Merritt said.

He said while he and the family are happy charges have come down, “we’re not quite sure why attempted murder wasn’t one of the charges, we want to explore that a little further.”

Merritt also said he’ll speak with federal prosecutors and investigators to see if the family’s civil rights were violated.

“We expect all families who are met with this kind of trauma to get an immediate police response and a vigorous prosecution — that’s not what this family was given before there was national outcry,” he said. 

Nagbe described her son as studious teen who loves music and an academic challenge. 

“Ralph and I will argue about, ‘Ralph can you put the sheet music down and do your English homework?’ ‘Mom, I don’t want to do my English homework because it’s boring,’” she said. “English is the only class that he does in school that’s not a college level class so it’s boring for him.”

She said that President Joe Biden called the family and he and Ralph joked about the president’s musical skills. 

“He and Ralph joked that his dad was a clarinet player and his dad told him that if it depended on President Biden to support the family on his musical skills, the family was going to die hungry. Ralph told him that he had jokes," she said.