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KCPD assures public 'thorough' investigation underway of teen's shooting in Clay County

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Posted at 5:19 PM, Apr 16, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department held a press conference with KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas Sunday afternoon to assure the public the shooting of a 16-year-old on April 13 is being 'thoroughly' investigated.

KCPD Chief Stacey Graves said the alleged suspect was taken into custody after the incident and was placed on a 24-hour investigative hold.

Per Missouri law, a person can be held for up to 24 hours for investigation of a felony, and after 24 hours have passed, the individual is required to be charged or released.

Graves said the 'vast majority' of violent crime cases result in the suspect being released within 24 hours while investigations are pending.

"Detectives and crime scene personnel immediately responded, processed the scene and recovered the firearm," Graves said.

The department must collect further forensic evidence and a statement from the victim before the case can be turned over to the Clay County Prosecutor's Office.

"A formal statement is planned and forthcoming as the teen's injuries allow," Graves said.

While KCPD was providing an update on the case, hundreds of community members rallied outside the residence where the teen was shot. Organizers of the planned protest allege the incident was racially motivated.

At the protest, the aunt of the victim confirmed to KSHB 41 the teen is 16-year-old Ralph Yarl.

"He is healing," said Faith Spoonmore, Yarl's aunt.

KCPD also confirmed Yarl is in stable condition as of Sunday afternoon.

Yarl was shot by a homeowner after mistakenly arriving at the wrong address — 1100 block of Northeast 115th Street instead of 1100 block of Northeast 115th Terrace — while trying to pick up his younger siblings on Thursday.

The incident has garnered attention online and across the country because of the nature of the crime.

"I want everyone to know that I am listening, and I understand the concern we are receiving from the community," Graves said.

KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas repeatedly assured the public during the press conference the incident will be thoroughly investigated, saying he stands with Graves and the Clay County Prosecutor's Office.

He also acknowledged the racial dynamics of the case.

Lucas said he knows of off-duty police officers who attended the Northland protest Sunday to engage with the community and listen to concerns.

"My family and I are praying for Ralph and his family as he recovers from his injuries," Missouri Rep. Josh Hurlbert said in a statement. "I fully trust the KCPD and the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney's Office to investigate and review the facts of the case and take any appropriate action."