By CAROLINA CRUZ
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — It’s been one year since 4-year-old Legend Taliferro was killed when a stray bullet hit him while he slept in Kansas City.
Legend’s death on June 29, 2020 left a mark in Kansas City at a time when violent crime was on the rise. In spite of mitigation efforts from law enforcement, Kansas City experienced it’s deadliest year in history last year.
Legend’s parents, Rapheal Taliferro and Charron Powell, say their grief is still as strong as it was the day they lost Legend, but they are channeling their anger and frustration to make sure other parents are not faced with the same loss.
Charron described Legend as “a character” who was always happy even when life was hard. Legend was born with a heart condition that required surgery months after he was born. Rapheal says his biggest fear wasn’t losing his son to health conditions, instead, to gun violence in Kansas City.
“It frustrates me, it angers me, it’s a lot of emotions,” expressed Rapheal.
Legend’s death came at a time when Kansas City was on pace to break a homicide record. By the end of 2020, Kansas City had experienced it’s deadliest year in history.
The former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Tim Garrison, says it’s a tragic reality. Around the time of Legend’s death, Garrison, and other law enforcement partners were figuring out ways to target violent crimes in the area and chose to name the project, Operation Legend.
“We wanted to give this operation a name that would be impactful but also show that the tragedy of the loss of human life that we were experiencing there,“ said Garrison.
More than 200 federal agents partnered with KCPD for the nearly 60 day operation. Law enforcement arrested more than 500 people, including Ryan Ellis, the man charged in Legend’s death. Ellis is charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of armed criminal action. The case goes to trial on January 10, 2022.
“He’s gotta pray, he’s gotta pray for himself. May God be with him,” said Rapheal when asked what he would tell Ellis.
Charron is still healing from the loss of her child, but she says she’s holding onto the notion that everything happens for a reason.
“It’s painful every day, but I know everything happened for a reason. There’s a purpose behind everything that’s done. So it’s just falling into my purpose and trying to figure out what that next step is, because his legacy is going to live on,” said Charron.
As a way to honor her son’s legacy, Charron is working on a project to help youth engage with their communities. She expects to have it operating by next year.
“When people ask how you want to be remembered. Legend, he knew he wanted to be remembered as the legend,” affirmed Charron.
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