Ralph Yarl’s Shooter Was Into ‘Weird, Random, Racist Things’, Grandson Says
A grandson of Ralph Yarl’s shooter is dropping the dime on the “weird, racist” things his grandfather was allegedly into that might’ve prompted his violent shooting of the innocent teen.
Yarl, 16, is recovering after being shot twice last Thursday by Andrew Lester, 84, The Independent reports. Yarl went to pick up his younger twin brothers from a friend’s house in Kansas City, Missouri, but mistakenly arrived at Lester’s residence and rang the doorbell.
Widespread backlash followed when word got out that Lester was freed on bond within a few hours of turning himself in to the police. Now, Lester’s grandson is speaking out about his estrangement from his grandfather over his grandfather’s alleged belief in right-wing conspiracy theories.
Klint Ludwig, 28, recalled noticing a change in his grandfather in 2020 when Lester shared a conspiracy theory about Dr. Anthony Fauci during a family gathering.
“I was like, ‘Man, this sounds crazy’,” Ludwig told The New York Times. “I told him it was ridiculous.”
Ludwig also recalls his grandfather making disparaging comments about Black people, gay people, and immigrants, harboring many firearms inside his home, including rifles and handguns. Ludwig said Lester made “racist comments” and was deeply interested in “QAnon-level conspiracy theories.”
“I believe he holds racist tendencies and beliefs,” he said, adding his grandfather bought into “conspiracies and weird random, racist things.”
“A lot of it was like the QAnon-level conspiracies of election denying and he got really weird about some Fauci dogs,” Ludwig explained. “And I would push back on some of that stuff and he couldn’t handle being pushed back on and at a certain point we kind of lost touch and I think it was more his choice than mine.”
Ludwig believes his grandfather is suffering the consequences of buying into right-wing conspiracy theories and misinformation.
“His actions are his responsibility, and falling into the fear and paranoia stoked by the 24-hour news cycle and wild conspiracies did not help his mental state,” Ludwig said.
Ludwig also confirmed the differences in his political views compared to his grandfather. He defended Yarl after the high school student almost lost his life for simply going to the wrong home.
“Ralph deserves justice, regardless of my relationship with the shooter,” Ludwig said. “Black Lives Matter always.”