Ralph Yarl's mom says doctors were left baffled as her son survived shooting
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Ralph Yarl’s heartbroken mother says doctors were left baffled after her son survived after being shot in the head.
The 16-year-old Black teenager approached a property in Kansas City, Missouri, on 13 April, believing he was picking up his younger brothers. Instead, Yarl was shot in the head and then in the arm once he fell to the ground by Andrew Lester, an 84-year-old white man.
Yarl was discharged from hospital this week and is recovering at home. His mother, Cleo Nagbe, who has worked as a nurse for over 20 years, is taking care of him.
Nagbe says her son is surrounded by a team of medical professionals as he recovers, including his aunt who is a physical therapist and his uncle, who also works in the medical field.
A CT scan revealed there were ‘minimal fragments of bullets’ in his brain, with his paediatrician left baffled after Lester shot the child at such close range.
“She’s like ‘bless God’ and that’s all I could say because if she doesn’t understand how, I don’t understand how because if you get shot at that close of a range and the CT said that and the doctor don’t understand how, then I don’t understand how,” Nagbe shared with Gayle King on Tuesday (18 April).
Nagbe also told CBS News that the bullet in her son’s head was there for ‘up to 12 hours’ before it could be removed. He has been left with ‘extensive’ injury and the residual effects will stay with him ‘for quite a while’.
Yarl has been able to communicate about the events leading up to the shooting and what happened afterwards. Nagbe said her son ‘just sits there and stares and the buckets of tears just rolls down his eyes’.
She said: “You can see that he is just replaying the situation over and over again.
“And that just doesn't stop my tears either, because when you see your kid just sits there and constantly he just— tears are just rolling from both sides of his eyes, there's nothing you can say to 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 they come home.
“While he was standing there, his brothers didn't run outside, but he got a couple of bullets in his body instead of a couple of twins coming up, out, and giving him a hug.”
Family lawyer, Lee Merritt, says Lester shooting Yarl was ‘unjustifiable’. Lester, who has been charged with first-degree assault after turning himself in, told Kansas City Police Department that he was terrified of the child. Merritt says his claim of being ‘scared’ is ‘awfully familiar’.
“We know that blackness in and of itself is seen as a threat in this country. When we hear him say 'I fear for my life' and he was only being confronted with a 16-year-old ringing his doorbell,” Merritt told CBS News.
“It is unjustifiable for him to use deadly force. We want to know more about Andrew Lester and his mindset.
“I remind you that the former and current president of the US is about that age, it's not sort of over the hill for everyone, he had an opportunity to make intentional decisions and he decided to shoot a 16-year-old boy.”