KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 22-year-old is now facing charges in the death of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while sleeping in his family’s apartment.
Ryson B. Ellis has been charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action in Jackson County.
Hear more from LeGend’s family in the video player above.
Police were called to an apartment at Citadel Apartments, just off Citadel and Bushman drives, at about 2:30 a.m. June 29 for a reported shooting. On their way, officers learned the victim, 4-year-old LeGend had been taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.
Police learned the suspect, now identified as Ellis, allegedly shot into the apartment from a grassy area nearby. Court documents say the bullets went through a wood privacy fence, a sliding glass door and blinds before hitting the boy.
A witness in the parking lot described the suspect, which matched Ellis.
Another female witness told police she was asleep inside when the shooting occurred. She said she had a son with Ellis and provided some social media and contact information.
The woman said a few days before, Ellis had allegedly hit her in the head at their Kansas City home, grabbed their baby and left, court documents say.
She told her mother and brothers about the incident, and her brothers allegedly went to the home where Ellis was staying. One of her brothers is the father of LeGend, court records say.
A fight ensued between Ellis and the brothers, according to police, and Ellis was injured. Ellis’ mother retrieved a gun and threatened them before the witness grabbed her son and they left.
The woman said she had been staying at the apartment where LeGend was shot since that incident out of fear Ellis would hurt her. She filed a police report and an ex-parte against him. Court records say she received threatening text messages from Ellis’ mother.
The police department also got numerous tips, naming Ellis as the murder suspect.
KC police determined the suspect vehicle was a rental car and found the woman who had rented it. She told investigators that the night of LeGend’s murder, she’d had a party at her home then gone to a club with Ellis and another person.
After leaving the club, Ellis asked to stop by Citadel Apartments, court records say. A short time after he got out of the vehicle, the woman said she heard gunshots and then Ellis allegedly ran back to the car. She allegedly heard a gun hit the floorboard and drove away.
The woman said she went back to her apartment, leaving Ellis outside and hadn’t talked to him since. She told police she didn’t find out until later someone had died.
Four-year-old LeGend became the namesake of Operation: LeGend, a federal initiative that brought more than 200 more federal agents to Kansas City in an effort to fight violent crime. The imitative has also expanded to other cities across the U.S.
It has been met with resistance from many who argue Kansas City doesn’t need more federal agents, but the U.S. attorney for the Kansas City region said they arrested more than 150 people under the operation.
Tim Garrison, U.S. Attorney for Missouri’s Western District, said Ellis’ arrest was the result local and federal law enforcement working through Operation: LeGend. Homicide cases are prosecuted at a state level.