Operation Legend has led to the arrest of 288 individuals, including 24 murder suspects, in Kansas City, Missouri, the first city where the law enforcement initiative was rolled out in early July, according to the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison said that among the 288 arrests, 61 were charged with federal offenses, 24 were homicide cases, and 72 were fugitives with either state or federal warrants for their arrest, according to an update on Aug. 21. Garrison also said 89 firearms were seized during the operation.
Garrison’s figures are the latest numbers for the city since Attorney General William Barr announced on Aug. 19 results from across the country under the operation. Barr said that, nationwide, nearly 1,500 people had been arrested, including 217 charged with federal crimes.
Many of the arrests made in Kansas City are firearm- or drug-related charges such as felon in possession of a firearm, or drug trafficking.
The operation, which began in Kansas City, has since been expanded to eight other cities, including Chicago; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Memphis, Tennessee; and St. Louis. It involves surging federal agents and resources to inner U.S. cities to assist local and state law enforcement officials to tackle violent crime and restore public safety.
There are currently about 1,000 federal agents spread across the nine cities.
The program was named for 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while sleeping in his home in Kansas City in June; a suspect has since been arrested.
In a recent interview with Fox4, Barr said the operation was named in LeGend’s memory because the little boy, who had survived open-heart surgery, reminded the attorney general of how grateful he was after his own daughter survived the same surgery as a child.
“One of my aides 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 told the broadcaster.
“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.”
He said that LeGend is a symbol of the many innocent people who have lost their lives during the recent uptick of violent crime in several major metropolitan areas.
Many major metropolitan cities have recently seen a disturbing uptick of violent crimes, especially in homicides and nonfatal shootings. For example, in Chicago, there were 440 homicides and 2,240 people shot between January and July. In the same time period in 2019, the number of homicides was at 290 with 1,480 shootings.
Barr said on Aug. 19 during a press conference that the spike in violent crime is likely a result of pent-up aggression prompted by state and local quarantine orders, and efforts to demonize police and defund
“Operation Legend is the heart of the federal government’s response to this uptick in violent crime,” Barr said. “Its mission is to save lives, solve crimes, and take violent offenders off our streets before they can claim more victims.
“Rather than demonizing or defunding police, we are supporting and strengthening our law enforcement partners at the state and local level.”