Ralph Yarl makes his first public appearance since he was shot


KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Ralph Yarl — a black teenager who was subsequently shot in the head and arm accidentally rang the wrong doorbell — attended a brain injury awareness event in his first major public appearance since the shooting.

The 17-year-old suffered traumatic brain injury in April when he was shot while trying to pick up his younger brothers Kansas City Star reported.

Yarl went for a walk with family, friends and other brain injury survivors Monday at Going the Distance for Brain Injury, an annual Memorial Day race at Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri.

“It takes a community. It takes a family. It takes a support group to do that,” Yarl’s mother, Cleo Nagbe, said ahead of the race, adding, “Let’s raise awareness to stop the things that cause brain injuries and shouldn’t cause them, especially gun violence.”

Up to 1,000 people raced through the park, including many in neon green T-shirts who had registered as part of “Team Ralph,” said Robin Abramowitz, executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City.

“It’s important for Ralph to realize that he’s not alone,” said Yarl’s aunt, Faith Spoonmore. She added that Yarl suffers from debilitating migraines and balance problems. He also struggles with his emotions, mood swings, and the trauma of the shooting.

Andrew Lester, an 84-year-old white man, is accused of shooting Yarl. The teenager had mistook Lester’s address for a house about a block away where he was supposed to pick up his siblings.

The shooting attracted worldwide attention and sparked rallies and protests in the Kansas City area. Critics said Lester received preferential treatment when police released him just two hours after his arrest.

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