NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Family members of the victims of violent crimes gather at Brooklyn Borough Hall for a vigil against gun…
People gather at Brooklyn Borough Hall for a vigil against gun violence on July 8, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. 101 pairs of shoes and a casket are laid out to represent the 101 shooting victims over the past week.

Days after an unusually violent weekend in Chicago left 17 dead – including two children – and 70 wounded, the Justice Department is launching Operation Legend, named for a toddler shot to death while he slept in his home in Kansas City.

“President Trump has made clear: the federal government stands ready and willing to assist any of our state and local law enforcement partners across the nation responding to violent crime,” Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday.

Barr said Operation Legend will combine the efforts of federal law enforcement agencies with state and local officials to fight what he said is the “sudden surge of violent crime.”

The initial efforts will be carried out in Kansas City, where 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro was shot in the face as he slept in his bed in his Kansas City home on June 29.

Witnesses say the bullet that killed LeGend came from gunfire outside his apartment house. Police say the building was targeted. Aside from surveillance video of a car that may have been involved, they have no further clues.

LeGend’s funeral is set for Friday. Football star Frank Clark of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs is paying for the funeral. The Chiefs are playing their first home game against the Houston Texans on September 10 in LeGend’s name.

LeGend loved football and basketball. He was born with a heart defect and survived open heart surgery when he was 4 months old, only to lose his life to senseless violence.

“LeGend’s death is a horrifying reminder that violent crime left unchecked is a threat to us all and cannot be allowed to continue,” Barr said.