Ralph Yarl earns all-state band slot 9 months after being shot for ringing the wrong doorbell

Missouri's North Kansas City Schools announced on Facebook that Yarl, a bass clarinetist, was one of four students in the area to receive the esteemed honor.

Ralph Yarl is still defying the odds, landing an all-state band slot nine months after a white man shot him in the head for ringing the wrong doorbell.

Missouri’s North Kansas City Schools announced on Facebook last week that Yarl, who plays bass clarinet, was one of four students in the area to receive the esteemed honor, according to NBC News, selected as second chair.

“Bravo to Eliza Cockrell and Stephen Kwon from Northtown, and Ralph Yarl and Carter Walters from Staley!” the post read. “They’ve earned a spot in the 2024 Missouri All State Orchestra or Band and will perform at the Missouri Music Educators Association annual conference in January at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Lake of the Ozarks.”

This undated photo shows Ralph Yarl, a teenager shot in April by a homeowner in Kansas City, Missouri. Yarl, who plays bass clarinet, has earned an all-state band slot nine months after the shooting. (Photo: Ben Crump Law via AP)

Officials said Andrew Lester shot a then-16-year-old Yarl through his front door when the teenager accidentally arrived at his home on April 13. Yarl was trying to pick up his brothers from Northeast 115th Terrace but mistakenly went to Northeast 115th Street a block away. 

He told ABC News in June that he was surprised when Lester confronted him with a gun, assuming the elderly man to be the grandfather of his brothers’ friend.

Yarl said the man said very little before shooting.

“He only said five words,” Yarl said later, recalling the 85-year-old Lester saying to him before firing shots: “‘Don’t come here ever again.'”


“So I back up. He points it at me. So I kind of, like, brace, and I turn my head,” Yarl recalled. “I’m thinking there’s no way he’s actually going to shoot, right? The door [isn’t] even open. He’s going to shoot through his glass door, and glass is going to get everywhere? And then it happened.”

Yarl said after being shot, he stumbled on some shattered glass but managed to get up to leave and get help. The teen detailed during an August court appearance that Lester shot him in the head, causing Yarl to fall to the ground before shooting him again in the arm.

Lester pleaded not guilty to allegations of first-degree assault and armed criminal activity.

In the June interview, Yarl also said he was suffering aftereffects, which included his mind feeling hazy.

“There are a lot of things going on inside my head that are not normal,” Yarl said, NBC News reported. “Sometimes my mind is just foggy, like I can’t concentrate on the things that would be easy for me to do.”

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