The family of 19-year-old Aidan Ellison identified him as the victim of a shooting that took place Monday, November 23 in Ashland, Oregon.
Police were called to the Stratford Inn around 5 a.m. where they found Ellison deceased after being shot in the chest.
Authorities identified the shooter as 47-year-old Robert Paul Keegan.
“Yes, there was an argument over music, no, this did not happen because of loud music, it happened because the suspect chose to bring a gun with him and chose to use it,” Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara stated in a post on Facebook. “100 percent on him, not the poor young man that was murdered,” he added.
Keegan is being held at the Jackson County jail without bail and is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and unlawful possession of a weapon. On Friday (November 27), he pleaded not guilty to all charges. His pre-trial hearing is scheduled for February 22 of next year.
Activists and members of the community are highlighting the role of racism that led to Keegan’s actions.
Ashland’s mayor-elect, Jule Akins posted on the social media site Next Door, “It’s not a coincidence that a white man, according to the police, chose to take the life of a young Black man for the offense of playing his music. This is at the root of racism. This is how people and cultures are erased through deeply ingrained violence.”
Precious Edmonds, a spokesperson for the Southern Oregon Black Leaders, Activists, and Community Coalition (SOBLACC) told Oregon Live, “The incident where Aidan was shot after an argument listening to his music was really about him not submitting to that man’s perceived authority.”
In an interview with CNN, O’Meara addressed the racial motivation behind the murder saying, “I understand that there are legitimate tensions surrounding matters of violence against people of color in the US, and this situation speaks directly to that.”
“I want to do whatever I can with the police department to navigate our marginalized community member relationships and find a way through this,” he said.
Ellison’s murder is tragically similar to the death of Jordan Davis who was shot and killed on the same day in 2012. Davis was killed by Michael Dunn in a gas station parking lot in Florida following a dispute over music volume.
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