Attorney Ben Crump retained by the family of the Black teen shot for going to the wrong house

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Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump has been retained by the family of a Black 16-year-old boy who was shot by a white homeowner for appearing at the wrong address last week.

Crump announced on Sunday that the family of Ralph Paul Yarl, a high school junior in Kansas City, Mo., retained his offices after the teenager was shot twice — once in the head, once in the arm — by an unidentified white male.

According to Faith Spoonmore, Ralph’s aunt, her nephew was on his way to pick up his younger brothers from a friend’s house last Thursday when he accidentally went to the wrong address.

“He pulled into the driveway and rang the doorbell,” Spoonmore posted online. “The man in the house opened the door, looked my nephew in the eye and shot him in the head. My nephew fell to the ground, and the man shot him again. Ralph was then able to get up and run to the neighbor’s house, looking for help.”

But Ralph had to run to three different houses before he was helped, Spoonmore added. Her nephew was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. He is alive and now recovering.

Spoonmore has since created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her nephew’s medical expenses. As of Monday morning, more than $940,000 had been raised for the family.

According to Kansas City police, officers did respond to reports of shots fired on April 13. They arrived to find a teenager outside a residence that had been shot by a homeowner.

The home owner, who remains unidentified, was taken into custody and placed on a 24-hour hold. They were released pending a further investigation, said Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves in a news conference Sunday.

She added that at this time, there was no information to show if the shooting was racially motivated, even though she recognized “the racial components” of the incident.

But Crump is calling for the shooter to be identified and arrested.

“There can be no excuse for the release of this armed and dangerous suspect after admitting to shooting an unarmed, non-threatening and defenseless teenager who rang his doorbell!” Crump said in a statement.

“We demand swift action from Clay County prosecutors and law enforcement to identify, arrest and prosecute to the full extent of the law the man responsible for this horrific and unjustifiable shooting.”

Crump is known for representing the families of Black Americans, particularly in cases of police killings. He has represented the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and now Tire Nichols. Rev. Al Sharpton has labeled Crump “Black America’s attorney general.”

Ralph, who plays multiple instruments, has been described by his teachers as “a kind soul” and “musical genius,” said Spoonmore. His goal is to receive an academic or music scholarship to attend Texas A&M University to major in chemical engineering. He wants to visit West Africa before starting college.

“Life looks a lot different right now,” Spoonmore said. “Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally. The trauma that he has to endure and survive is unimaginable. He is our miracle. We have heard these types of stories many times, and unfortunately, most black boys are not alive to get another chance.”

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