KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- LeGend Taliferro’s name is known around the country after a federal initiative to solve violent crimes was named to honor the 4-year-old who was shot and killed as he slept in a Kansas City apartment.
Tonight, LeGend’s suspected killer is in custody. Ryson Ellis, 22, has been charged with the child’s murder.
On Aug. 11, police arrested and questioned a woman with an attorney by her side who said she drove Ellis to the apartment complex where the shooting happened on June 29 around 2:40 a.m.
Once there, prosecutors say Ellis fired multiple rounds into the apartment where LeGend slept.
Investigators say Ellis stood in a grassy area and shot through a wooden privacy fence and sliding glass door, striking LeGend who was inside a Citadel Apartment where LeGend’s father lived.
“Some of those shots killed this beautiful little boy,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.”
“It’s still rough to imagine to know I don’t have my son anymore,” said Charron Powell, LeGend’s mother. “To wake up and not feel his presence or even hear his voice. It’s one of the hardest things for us.”
After the shooting, a woman who was inside the apartment told police she had received threatening social media messages from Ellis and had been assaulted by him just days before the murder. Her brothers confronted Ellis. One of those brothers is LeGend’s father.
“I'm so grateful that we are in the steps to justice,” said Powell. “This is a lose situation for my family and including his.”
LeGend’s mother and father stood nearby as Baker announced charges against Ellis Thursday.
“I lost a lot,” said Powell. “In reality, they lost, too. As a community, how can we stop this? How can we come together and show this is not what Kansas City is? What are we going to do know?”
“We got to take it a step farther and help calm the violence down,” she said. “Do what you guys did to help my case. Let's do that for other cases.”
Police said the woman who drove Ellis to the apartment complex told investigators she rented the car seen on video surveillance. She told officers that, the night of the murder, Ellis asked for a ride to the apartment after they went to Rendezvous Lounge. She said after he got out, she heard gunshots and he ran back to the car. She told police she did not initially know anyone was killed.
Ellis was arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Once back here in Kansas City, he will be held without bond.
It’s unclear if more suspects will be charged. The investigation is ongoing.
According to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Tim Garrison, Operation LeGend has led to more than 200 arrests, including 16 people wanted for their participation in homicides.
Investigators have seized 70 firearms during the initiative.
Ellis is charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon.