KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Attorney General William Barr has a personal connection to Operation LeGend, which he said is why he named the national effort after the little boy from Kansas City.
Barr was at the Federal Courthouse on Wednesday for an update about the operation. The parents of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, for whom the federal crime fighting initiative was named, joined the attorney general.
“For us, LeGend is a symbol of many hundreds of innocent lives that have been taken in the recent upsurge in crime in many of our urban areas,” Barr said.
LeGend was killed in June when he was shot by a bullet meant for someone else while sleeping in his Kansas City home.
Concerned about the rise in violent crime across the country, Barr and President Donald Trump first set up Operation Relentless Pursuit. Federal agents were ready to move into crime-ridden cities to arrest the most violent criminals, but it was abruptly halted by COVID-19.
“I felt like we sort of had to reboot that effort, refocus it and approach it with a greater sense of urgency,” Barr said.
The attorney general decided to name that reboot Operation LeGend. During FOX4’s rare one-on-one interview, Barr told a story he hasn’t talked about before.
“One of my aids came in and showed me a picture of LeGend and told me about the case and that he had had open heart surgery, which he survived,” Barr said.
Barr, a father, was especially drawn to LeGend’s story. Hearing about LeGend’s tragedy reminded Barr how grateful he was after his daughter survived open heart surgery as a child.
“And it was quite a challenge for us,” Barr said of his personal experience. “I thought of someone going through that and then having that child killed, shot in the face, moved me to feel that he would be a good person to name this operation after.”
There are a 1,000 federal agents are spread across nine U.S. cities. With close to 1,500 arrests nationwide, Barr said the initiative is working, but they have more work to do.
Barr said as long as he is attorney general, Operation LeGend will continue until there is a drastic reduction in violent crime.