The Missouri teen who was shot in the head after mistakenly going to the wrong home to pick up his younger siblings attended a fundraiser Monday to benefit others who also suffered traumatic brain injuries.
High-school honors student Ralph Yarl, now 17, traveled to Overland Park, Kan., with his family for the “Going the Distance for Brain Injury” run-walk event, FOX 4 Kansas City reported.
Yarl — recently described by kin as a “shell” of his former self — was photographed alongside other participants wearing a green shirt emblazoned with the name of the event, which took place just weeks after he was wounded.
The teen was shot when he accidentally went to the wrong Kansas City address after his mother had asked him to get his twin brothers.
Police have said Yarl mistakenly went to the home of 84-year-old Andrew Lester around 10 p.m. April 13.
Yarl rang the doorbell, at which point Lester allegedly opened his door and blasted the teen with a .32 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver without uttering a word.
Lester shot the then-16-year-old boy in the head and arm at point-blank range, police said.
Lester, who lives alone, allegedly told police he was “scared to death” and thought someone was trying to break into his home.
Clay County prosecutor Zachary Thompson has told reporters there was a “racial component” to the shooting but did not elaborate.
Yarl said to police that Lester told him afterward, “Don’t come around here.”
The teen ran around to several nearby homes before someone was willing to help him.
Lester was charged with first-degree assault. He pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.
Yarl’s aunt, Faith Spoonmore, told ABC News that her nephew had been living in the same neighborhood where he was shot but has since moved away.
“Ralph is currently living with me,” Spoonmore said. “He’s been with me since the event. He is not comfortable going back to that area. He is not comfortable going back to his house, his home.”
Spoonmore told the outlet her nephew is no longer “doing the things that he loves to do.
“[I]t’s like he’s a shell. And that’s the problem, is that there is something that is missing within him,” she said.