ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Federal agents are coming to St. Louis in an effort to combat violent crime.
According to US Attorney Jeff Jensen, 50 federal law enforcement officials part of "Operation Legend" will be focused on active shooters, homicides, gangs, and will patrol the most distressed neighborhoods in the city.
The city has violent crime task forces in place and these agents will join them and some will join the US Marshals' fugitive task force to enforce federal warrants and arrest violent criminals.
"What 'Operation Legend' is, is not protection of federal buildings or federal properties, it's not riot police officers wearing fatigues," Jensen said. "This is purely a violent crime effort and effort to reduce the terrible murder rate we have seen lately. Fifty-three murders in July in a city of 300,000 people."
Jensen was joined by Governor Parson, Mayor Lyda Krewson, Judge Jimmie Edwards, Attorney General Eric Schmitt and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden, and partner agencies on Thursday for a press conference where they announced more details of the initiative.
"Here we are today, with every one of us making a commitment to change the streets of St. Louis, to make them better, to make them safer, and give the people out there, those rights to get back out and be everyday citizens without walking down the streets in fear," Governor Parson.
Officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department responded to 85 homicides and several other non-fatal shootings in June and July alone. A total of 32 people were killed in June in the city and 53 people were killed in July.
The Department of Justice said Operation Legend was created as a result of President Donald Trump’s promise to assist cities plagued by violence after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro who was shot and killed while asleep in Kansas City on June 29.
The program launched in early July and involves sending federal agents with the FBI, US Marshal Service, DEA and ATF to work with local and state law enforcement to fight crime. Operation Legend began in Kansas City and was later expanded to include Cleveland, Albuquerque, Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee.
Mentioned in the press conference Thursday, the FBI is also offering a $25,000 reward for the arrest in the case of 2-year-old Kayden Johnson and his mother, Trinat'y Riley. They were shot and killed in their north St. Louis home on April 30, 2019.
Anyone with any information regarding the double homicide is urged to contact CrimeStoppers at 866-371-8477.