Authorities have arrested and charged the suspected killer of LeGend Taliferro, the 4-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., who inspired a massive federal policing operation across the country.
Ryson Ellis, 22, has been charged with murder for allegedly firing gunshots into LeGend’s family apartment in the city, striking the boy as he slept, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Thursday.
The shooting led President Trump and Attorney General William Barr to announce Operation Legend last month, which has sent hundreds of federal officers into cities to help fight violent crime.
LeGend’s family joined Trump for the White House announcement last month. Trump heralded the news of Ellis’ arrest Thursday, calling LeGend a “wonderful young man” as he held up his photograph at a White House news briefing.
“As you know, we named Operation LeGend after LeGend Taliferro, where we’re going to be helping out, and are in the process of helping out, cities throughout our country that have difficulty with crime — in particular, certain types of crime,” Trump said.
“So that’s really good news,” he went on. “They caught the killer of LeGend.”
As part of the operation, federal agents have been sent Chicago, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Memphis, St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee.
While the White House has faced strong criticism for the actions of federal agents sent to Portland to quell police brutality protests, Barr has taken effort to stress the difference in the officers’ roles in the two operations.
“We will continue to confront mob violence,” Barr said at the time. “But, the operations we are discussing today are very different; they are classic crime-fighting.”
Barr on Thursday credited local officials’ collaboration in the arrest of Ellis and said it showed “potential” for the operation more broadly.
“This development is a model for joint efforts to solve crimes and reduce violence in other cities,” Barr said.