More than $2.9m raised for 16-year-old shot in head for ringing wrong doorbell
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A fundraiser set up to pay for the medical bills of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl has skyrocketed to $2.9 million in donations.
Ralph, a Black teenager from Kansas City, was shot in the head on Thursday, 13 April when he went to pick up his younger brothers from a friend's house but accidentally went to the wrong address.
The teenager had been sent to 115th Terrace, but got mixed up and went to 115th street by mistake.
When he rang the doorbell, a white homeowner - who has since been identified as 84-year-old Andrew Lester shot him twice - once in the head and a second time in the arm after he had already fallen to the ground.
Ralph had to call out to neighbours for help, going to three different homes before somebody offered to call an ambulance.
After being treated for four days in hospital, Ralph was discharged and sent home to his family.
In an interview with Gayle King on Tuesday (18 April), Ralph's mother Cleo Nagbe said that doctors don't understand how the teen survived the deadly shooting.
At first, Kansas City Police detained Mr Lester, but let him go after some questioning due to Missouri laws that require law enforcement to have a formal victim statement to make an arrest. That move sparked major protests across Kansas City, calling for an official arrest.
But on Monday (17 April), Mr Lester was charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action.
The first charge carries anywhere from 10 years to life imprisonment, while the second carries three to 15 years.
A GoFundMe set up by a woman who identified herself as Ralph's aunt has been absolutely flooded with donations to help pay for the teenager's medical bills and any other recovery he or his family will require after such a traumatic incident.
Just over 24 hours after the fundraiser was launched, it now stands at over a jaw-dropping $2.9 million - $2,916,300, at the time of writing.
In the campaign description, Ralph is described as a 'fantastic kid' with a particular talent for music, who hopes to go to Texas A&M University to study Chemical Engineering.
It reads: "Last summer, Ralph attended Missouri Scholar’s Academy, where he got a full college life experience.
"His goal is to attend Texas A&M to major in chemical Engineering. When asked how he plans to get into this university, he said, 'Well, if they have a scholarship for music or academics, I know I can get it.'
"Ralph's teacher and friends describe him as 'a kind soul,' 'quiet,' 'friendly,' 'well-mannered,' 'always willing to help,' 'super smart,' and a 'musical genius.'
"Ralph was looking forward to graduating high school and finally getting the opportunity to visit West Africa before starting college."
A recent update added: "Ralph is currently at home with the family. He can ambulate and communicate. A true miracle considering what he survived.
"Each day is different. He has a long road ahead. However, we are very thankful that he is still here with us.
"I've been taking the time to read the emails and comments to Ralph. It warms our hearts to see him smile at all the kind words."
If you'd like to donate to Yarl's GoFundMe, click here.