Kansas City authorities arrested and charged the alleged killer of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who is the namesake of Operation Legend, on Thursday.
Authorities arrested Ryson Ellis, 22, and charged him with four felonies: second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of armed criminal action, according to a statement by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Taliferro died on June 29 after he was hit by a bullet while sleeping in his bed in Kansas City. After his death, President Trump announced a federal push to combat skyrocketing violence and crime in the United States’ largest cities, known as 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,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. “The arrest and state charges resulted from cooperation among Kansas City police officers, the FBI, and U.S. Marshals. 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.”
“Although LeGend’s suspected murderer has been arrested, Operation Legend will go on,” Barr continued. “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.”
Trump announced Operation Legend on July 22 from the White House while he was flanked by Taliferro’s parents and grandparents.
“In recent weeks, there has been a radical movement to defund, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments. Extreme politicians have joined this anti-police crusade and relentlessly vilified our law enforcement heroes,” Trump said, according to a White House transcript. “To look at it from any standpoint, the effort to shut down policing in their own communities has led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders, and heinous crimes of violence. This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end.”
“I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime,” Trump continued. “We’ll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation’s children, and bring violent perpetrators to justice. We’ve been doing it, and you’ve been seeing what’s happening all around the country. We’ve just started this process, and, frankly, we have no choice but to get involved.”
Trump has dispatched National Guard troops to Kansas City, Albuquerque, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, and others as part of Operation Legend. In Portland, federal agents clashed with rioters attempting to damage and destroy a federal courthouse. Numerous federal agents were injured during the riots as people threw objects, set off fireworks, and shined high-intensity lasers at the officers. Oregon officials repeatedly objected to the Trump administration’s involvement, calling the federal agents an “occupying force” and accusing officers of provoking the violence.