Attorney General William Barr hailed the joint efforts of federal law enforcement officers and local police after a man was charged in the murder of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, whose death sparked Operation Legend.
“Today’s arrest of LeGend Taliferro’s suspected murderer marks a significant step forward in his case and illustrates the potential of Operation Legend more broadly. The arrest and state charges resulted from cooperation among Kansas City police officers, the FBI, and U.S. Marshals,” Barr said in a statement. “This development is a model for joint efforts to solve crimes and reduce violence in other cities. I thank the state and local law enforcement officers who helped make possible this important step in bringing justice to LeGend, to his family, and to his community.“
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Ryson Ellis, 22, was charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of armed criminal action on Thursday in the death of Taliferro.
Taliferro was killed in June after a bullet was fired into his home in Kansas City.
If convicted, Ellis faces a maximum sentence of life in prison under Missouri law.
The Trump administration launched Operation Legend, named after Taliferro, in July and described it as “a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative across all federal law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight the sudden surge of violent crime.”
Barr ordered federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA, and ATF to “surge resources” to Kansas City, where homicides have increased by 40% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Operation Legend now also includes Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, and Detroit.
“Inspired by this success, federal law enforcement will continue working tirelessly to support state and local partners in our shared mission to keep the American people safe and enforce the rule of law,” Barr said.
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