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Biden invites Ralph Yarl, Black teen shot by white homeowner, to the White House



President Joe Biden invited 16-year-old Ralph Yarl to the White House while speaking to the teen and his family on Monday evening. The family’s attorney Lee Merritt told theGrio, “He looks forward to meeting the family.”

Yarl made national headlines after being shot last week in the head by a white homeowner in Kansas City, Missouri when the teen rang the doorbell of the wrong home to pick up his younger siblings.

President Joe Biden invited 16-year-old Ralph Yarl to the White House while speaking to the teen and his family on Monday. (Photo: Getty Images/AP)

Yarl is on the mend after being released over the weekend. Merritt said it is “a miracle” that the teen is alive as “he was shot at point-blank range, and it was lodged in his brain.” The attorney said the teen underwent a delicate operation as “doctors did scrape bullet fragments off of his frontal lobe”

Merritt, who is representing Yarl and his family, recalled the conversation President Biden had with Yarl, his mother, and his aunt – both of whom are healthcare workers; a nurse and a physical therapist.  

According to the civil rights attorney, Biden said, “He and the rest of the nation are looking for a speedy recovery.”

A White House official shared with theGrio that during his call with Yarl and his family, President Biden acknowledged how fortunate the teen was to have a family in the healthcare industry as they help him on his road to recovery.

Biden also attempted to connect with the high school student who plays in a marching band. The president shared that his father once played an instrument and that his wife, first lady Dr. Jill Biden, has healthcare workers in her family.

The president also discussed Yarl’s academic success in the classroom and his desire to attend Texas A&M University. Biden jokingly told the teen that the University of Delaware — in the president’s home state — would be a better option.

On a more serious note, the president expressed his commitment to tackling the issue of gun violence in the United States.

This booking photo provided by the Kansas City Police Department shows Andrew Lester on Thursday, April 13, 2023. Lester, who shot a Black teen that approached the wrong house in Kansas City, Mo., last week while trying to pick up his younger brothers, has been charged with first-degree assault, the Clay County prosecutor said Monday, April 17. (Kansas City Police Department via AP)

President Biden’s call with the Yarl family happened the same day that 84-year-old suspect Andrew Lester was charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. Both are felony charges. 

If Lester is convicted, he could face life in prison. The octogenarian reportedly shot the teen through a glass door with a .32 -caliber handgun. Lester told authorities he fired the shots because “he was scared.”

Merritt said he thinks Lester “has already been given preferential treatment” for not being arrested the night Yarl was shot. The family will meet with prosecutors on Tuesday about the near-fatal assault case. 

The attorney told theGrio the family is prepared to question prosecutors about why Lester was not charged with attempted murder.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today! 


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