LeGend Taliferro's funeral was paid for by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark

By Chris Harris
August 14, 2020 10:00 AM
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LeGend Taliferro
| Credit: Kansas City Police/Twitter

Authorities in Missouri have charged a 22-year-old Kansas City man with murder in the death of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot in late June while he was fast asleep.

On Thursday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced that Ryson B. Ellis had been arrested.

Ellis, who was apprehended Thursday at about 3 p.m., is charged with two counts of armed criminal action and individual counts of second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon.

In a statement, Baker alleges that, early on the morning of June 29, Ellis approached a home in Kansas City, firing bullets into the residence through a sliding glass door.

Inside the home were several individuals, including LeGend and the boy's father's sister, who told police she'd had a child with Ellis, according to a copy of the criminal complaint, which was obtained by PEOPLE.

Days before the shooting, Ellis allegedly assaulted LeGend's aunt, she told to police, prompting several of her brothers to confront the suspect at his home, according to the complaint.

The confrontation became violent, the complaint alleges. Ellis was injured, and his mother allegedly threatened the brothers with a gun, according to the complaint.

Ryson Ellis
| Credit: Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

"One of the family members [was] the father of Legend Taliferro and he resided at the apartment where the young victim was later shot," reads the prosecutor's statement.

At least one of the fired bullets hit LeGend, who was sleeping on the floor on the other side of the sliding glass door, according to the complaint. The little boy had undergone several successful open heart surgeries as an infant and toddler.

Relatives drove LeGend to the nearest hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No one else sustained injuries in the shooting.

LeGend's funeral was paid for by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark.

The criminal complaint alleges surveillance footage from the surrounding neighborhood shows Ellis arrived in a rental car, driven by a woman. He exited, and crept up behind the house.

The woman driver was interviewed by police, and said she was unaware of Ellis' intentions. She allegedly "heard gun shots," and Ellis "came running back to the car," reads the statement from Baker's office. "She said she didn't find out until later someone had been killed."

Investigators spoke to LeGend's aunt, who told them Ellis had allegedly threatened her via social media in the wake of the fatal shooting.

LeGend's death inspired a federal crackdown on violent offenders, which was named Operation LeGend in his memory.

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U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement: "The arrest and state charges resulted from cooperation among Kansas City police officers, the FBI, and U.S. Marshals. This development is a model for joint efforts to solve crimes and reduce violence in other cities. I thank the state and local law enforcement officers who helped make possible this important step in bringing justice to LeGend, to his family, and to his community. Although LeGend's suspected murderer has been arrested, Operation LeGend will go on."

Ellis has yet to enter pleas to the charges against him, and information on whether he has a lawyer was unavailable Friday.