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Federal agents will be coming to St. Louis to help crack down on crime

The federal program was named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who died while sleeping in his bed after someone shot into his Kansas City home
Credit: The United States Department of Justice
LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed on June 29th in Kansas City, MO.

ST. LOUIS — A federal program aimed at reducing violent crime will soon launch in St. Louis.

Operation Legend is named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was killed this summer when someone shot into his Kansas City, Missouri home. LeGend was asleep in his bedroom at the time.

Attorney General William Barr described the shooting as “a horrifying reminder that violent crime left unchecked is a threat to us all and cannot be allowed to continue.”

The anti-violent crime program named in LeGend’s memory launched in Kansas City just a couple weeks later. It has since expanded to other cities, including Chicago and Albuquerque.  

RELATED: Federal government to combat violent crime in Kansas City

Barr has directed agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to help local law enforcement in fighting violent crimes.

U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen is expected to make the announcement Thursday afternoon at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department headquarters downtown, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

The announcement is set for 1:30 p.m. Missouri Governor Mike Parson also is expected to attend.

The addition of the program in Kansas City has been largely welcomed by law enforcement and state officials.

The Kansas City Police Department and the state attorney general's office both said they support the effort.

"We are all committed to lowering violent crime and bringing justice to the families of those victims of violent crime,” said city police spokesman Jacob Becchina.

Several civil rights organizations in the area have criticized the operation, arguing that minority residents who already don't trust local officers will be even less likely to cooperate with federal agents.

Gwendolyn Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, said she doubts the federal officers will be used only to help solve crimes and reduced violence.

“We want it stopped, but we don’t believe this is the way to get it done. It’s just going to create more violence, and our fear is a lot of that will be dealt with by law enforcement that we don’t trust.”

RELATED: Federal operation in Kansas City welcomed by law enforcement, opposed by civil rights groups

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