Ralph Yarl is alive today thanks, in part, to the actions of 2 neighbors who came to his assistance minutes after Andrew Lester shot the 16-year-old boy twice — and one of those neighbors is tearfully sharing the traumatic experience.
Jodi Rae joined us Thursday on “TMZ Live,” and was almost immediately choked up remembering when Ralph banged on her front door, desperately seeking help. She says she couldn’t see out her front door, and was uncertain about what was going on outside.
She had not heard the gunshots, but says it was clear Ralph was in dire need of assistance … so, she decided to call 911. The operator told her there was an active shooter in the area, and advised Jodi not to open her door.
This definitely created a massive dilemma for Jodi … one that brought her to tears as she told us about it — she wanted to make sure her own son remained safe in their home, but also wanted to help Ralph, who she could see through her window falling to his knees.
Jodi says once she saw another neighbor walking outside, she figured the danger must have passed … and immediately ran to Ralph’s side. When she saw pools of blood outside her door, she realized the teen had been shot.
The story gets even more gripping and emotional at this point … Jodi says she and a male neighbor used a towel to apply pressure to Ralph’s head wound, held his hand and talked to him about school … anything to keep his mind off the pain he was clearly suffering.
She fought through tears to tell us what Ralph told them about getting shot. She says she’s had very limited contact with the shooter, Lester, since moving to the Kansas City neighborhood last year.
Jodi says she just kept thinking, “That’s somebody’s son,” and knew she had to do something to help him. Sadly, she says there’s been some backlash against her and other neighbors … people who are, incorrectly, assuming the community did nothing to help Ralph.
While that’s clearly not what happened, Jodi says she’s mostly concerned with Ralph’s recovery. She says, “Nothing compares to what that young man is living through every day.”
As we reported, Ralph is out of the hospital and recovering at home. Lester, meanwhile, has been arrested and charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.