Operation LeGend expanding to St. Louis, now in 8 cities across the US

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Earlier today, federal and local officials announced that Operation LeGend is being expanded to St. Louis. 

Operation LeGend is named in honor of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early on the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. The operation was first launched on July 8, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri, and is now underway in Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Memphis and St. Louis. 

Like Kansas City, St. Louis has experienced an incredibly high number of violent crimes so far this year. Now, officials are seeking federal help to assist local law enforcement in finding and prosecuting violent offenders.

According to St. Louis Judge Jimmie M. Edwards, “there has been one homicide or non-fatal shooting every single day during the last two months which, resulted in 32 homicides in June and 53 in July.” 

“Intolerable lately. It’s absolutely intolerable. Now we all know it’s a community problem, but when you’re trying to build a community’s health, we just can’t do it with this level of violent crime.” US Attorney Jeff Jensen said.

In the City of St. Louis, the Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending more than 50 federal investigators from the Department of Homeland Security to the City. Under the leadership of U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, these investigators will complement the work already underway by existing joint federal, state and local task forces focused on combatting violent gangs, gun crime, and drug trafficking organizations.

St. Louis Metro Police Commissioners John Hayden Jr. implored those in the community with knowledge of these violent crimes to speak up.

“A lot of times, people know things about a lot of these violent criminal activities that they aren’t sharing,” Hayden said. “Please assist us with this effort to make your neighborhood safer.”

Once again, the death of a child is at the center of this operation.

Trina’ty Riley, an 18-year-old mom, was at home with her 2-year-old son Kayden Johnson when three men broke into her home. Trininty ran to the closet to hide. But the intruders found her and opened fire on her and Kayden. 

Trinity was found dead by police, still clutching Kayden in her arms. FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn announced that as part of the initiative, a reward of up to $25,000 would be made available for information leading to the identification and arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for the homicides of Kayden E. Johnson, and his mother Trina’ty A. Riley.

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