"I know that I was the first person who got to this kid and that's really, really sad," James Lynch said.
Trigger Warning: The following content contains mentions of gun violence, violence against a child, and racist violence, which may be distressing to some readers.
James Lynch, a technician from Kansas City, Missouri, saw Ralph Yarl was in danger and immediately hurried to his side. On April 13, just before 10 p.m., Ralph went to N.E. 115th St. rather than N.E. 115th Terrace to pick up his younger brothers from a friend's residence. He rang the doorbell, and when Andrew Lester, the 84-year-old homeowner, opened the door, the police claim that he allegedly shot at the teen with a revolver through the glass of the storm door. An 84-year-old Clay County man, Andrew D. Lester, has been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action for shooting a 16-year-old who mistakenly came to his house last week, per KSHB.
WATCH: Ralph Yarl’s high school classmates walk out in support of him, demanding justice on his behalf. pic.twitter.com/VXzvpmXQ9i— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) April 18, 2023
"I wanted to make sure Ralph wasn't alone because nobody deserved to be treated that way," Lynch who is 42, told PEOPLE. Lynch ran to Ralph Yarl's aid as soon as he heard the ruckus and saw he was in danger. "You could see that he was a child when I walked up to him," he said.
The teen was shot twice. According to the probable cause statement, Lester had just gotten into bed when he heard the doorbell ring. "He stated he believed someone was attempting to break into the house, and shot twice (through a storm door) within a few seconds of opening the (main) door," according to CNN.
"I know that I was the first person who got to this kid and that's really, really sad," he said.
Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson said at a news conference, "I can tell you there was a racial component to this case." Lester told authorities he had just gotten into bed when he heard the doorbell ring, the probable cause statement says.
Ralph Yarl, the Black teen who was shot after ringing the wrong doorbell, was motionless and covered in blood when James Lynch found him.— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) April 18, 2023
“No one deserves to lay there like that. He hasn’t even begun to live his life yet. He didn’t deserve to get shot.” https://t.co/vVkeWnqlp0
He grabbed a handgun and then went to the door and he shot Ralph, a Black teen, because he was "scared to death," according to the probable cause statement as per PEOPLE. Ralph told police that Lester allegedly told him, "Don't come around here," the statement said. It's unclear when Lester allegedly said that. Whereas Lynch, the good samaritan who helped Ralph says his heart goes out to the young man. "It was unfair that this happened," he said.
Ralph's aunt Faith Spoonmore claimed in the GoFundMe campaign she set up for her nephew that after being wounded in the head and arm, he somehow found the fortitude to walk door to door in the neighborhood yelling that he had been shot. An update on the fund page reads, “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,” it added.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe