The grandson of the white octogenarian charged with shooting Ralph Yarl after the black teen rang his doorbell by mistake said the “crazy” encounter “never should have happened.”
Suspect Andrew Lester’s grandson Daniel Ludwig told The Daily Beast that he has often been in the same situation as Yarl, who mistakenly went to the wrong address in Kansas City to pick up his twin brothers.
“I’d go to visit my grandpa, and I would get lost on those streets,” he said. “It’s easy to do. They all look the same and everything.”
The grandson added: “It’s just crazy. I wish it didn’t happen.”
Ludwig also said he believes his grandfather, 84-year-old Lester, felt he was in danger.
The retired aircraft mechanic, who faces charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal, turned himself Tuesday and was taken to the Clay County Detention Center, where he was released on a $200,000 bond.
He claimed he was “scared to death,” thinking someone was trying to break into his home when he shot his .32-caliber revolver at Yarl, whom he described as a “black male approximately 6 feet tall pulling on the storm door handle.”
But the teen said he never touched the door and was outside of the home to pick up his siblings, who were waiting for him at a nearby home.
Yarl claimed Lester warned, “Don’t come around here,” as he ran away after being shot in the head and arm.
Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson has said the shooting had a “racial component,” without elaborating.
A neighbor of Lester’s told The Daily Beast that she believed race absolutely played into the shooting.
“I just want to make sure the world doesn’t think every neighbor here is okay with this shit happening,” she told the outlet, asking not to be named.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the entire tragedy could and should have been avoided.
“I just don’t see any justification for it,” he told The Daily Beast. “I’m just starting to question, have people lost their minds?”
Yarl is recovering at home after being released from the hospital.
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