The homeowner accused of shooting a black boy in the head in Missouri has pleaded not guilty in court. The 84-year-old white man made his first appearance in the courtroom in the city of Liberty yesterday, US media reported.

He is accused, among other things, of aggravated assault, which in Missouri can be punished with life imprisonment. Before the court hearing, the prosecutor said there was a “racist component” to the incident. At the same time, he emphasized that the indictment documents did not state that the shots were racially motivated.

Invitation from Biden

The incident happened in Kansas City last Thursday. The youth’s family reported that he was due to pick up his younger siblings by car from a friend’s house at around 10 p.m., but accidentally rang the wrong doorbell. According to prosecutors, the homeowner then shot the boy, hitting him in the head and arm.

The 16-year-old underwent surgery but has since been released from the hospital. Doctors expected a full recovery, the father told the New York Times. The family’s lawyer posted a picture with the youth yesterday. The fact that the bullet in his head didn’t do even more damage is a real miracle, he wrote on the social media platform.

US President Joe Biden invited the boy to visit the White House on Tuesday evening. “We’ll see you in the Oval (Office) as soon as you’re better,” Biden wrote on Twitter. The fight against gun violence in the US must continue, he added. Biden has long advocated tougher gun laws, but Republicans in Congress are blocking them.