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9 Months After Being Unjustly Shot, Teen Ralph Yarl Earns All-State Band Slot

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by Paulina Isaac

January 16, 2024

Ralph Yarl is getting his life back. The 17-year-old high school student is recovering since getting shot after showing up at the wrong address to pick up his siblings. He was allegedly shot by 85-year-old Andrew Lester in the head and arm. Lester is now facing first-degree assault and armed criminal action charges for his alleged actions.

Despite the tragic events, Yarl is healing and is thriving at school. It was recently announced that he was named to the 2024 Missouri All-State Band as second chair for bass clarinet. He’s also an honors student and is one of the top bass clarinet players in the state.

“Bravo to Eliza Cockrell and Stephen Kwon from Northtown, and Ralph Yarl and Carter Walters from Staley!” the North Kansas City Schools Facebook page shared. “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.”

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Supporters were quick to congratulate him on the post. One person wrote, “Congratulations to all!! Enjoy your trip! Way to go Ralph, what a comeback keep being amazing!!” While another added, “Congratulations to all! So excited to see Ralph come back and excel!”

During a June interview, Yarl said he was still dealing with the aftermath of the shooting.

“There are a lot of things going on inside my head that are not normal,” he said. “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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We’re hoping for a full recovery!

(Cover photo: Ralph Yarl/Photo by Ben Crump Law)

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