Eating skittles, playing loud music, visiting convenience stores and living life in general are daily, natural occurrences in the lives of most people; for Aiden Ellison, an Oregon teenager, playing loud music was his last act.
On Nov. 23, Ellison, 19 and Robert Keegan, 47 were both staying at the Stratford Inn in Ashland, OR. Both were outside parked in the hotel parking lot, when a confrontation ensued around 4 a.m. Keegan objected to the volume of the music Ellison was playing in the hotel parking lot, at some point, Keegan fired one shot into Ellison’s chest, killing him.
“The victim had apparently been playing some music loudly in the parking lot and this upset the suspect, which caused the suspect to go down and engage him in an argument,” Tighe O’Meara, Ashland’s Police chief, told the media.
Though Keegan has been arrested and charged with 2nd-degree murder, manslaughter, and unlawful possession of a weapon, Oregon residents have criticized the medias portrayal of the suspect. KTVL News says that Keegan had been displaced during the Almeda wildfires and was staying at the hotel with his young son. Over $8K had been raised to help the two after the fire, KTVL reported. Keegan has no police record in the state.
“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,” Precious Edmonds, a spokesperson for the Southern Oregon Black Leaders, Activists, and Community Coalition (SOBLACC) told Oregon Live.
“He was listening to his music too loudly — that’s irrelevant. How good the man was that shot him doesn’t change a thing. All of those things are not relevant to what occurred. But that’s the narrative, that’s the frame of white supremacy,” said Edmonds.
O’Meara addressed reports about comments of his that people say were insensitive to the victim. “It has been reported in some local media sources that I said this murder was ‘because of’ something,” O’Meara told Oregon Live. “The only thing that caused this murder was the suspect’s actions, 100%. It is completely immaterial what led up to it.”
A vigil candlelight was held for Ellison on Thanksgiving Day.
“I could tell you all the stereotypical stuff. He was special, he was kind, he was a great guy, but he was so much more than that,” his ‘brother’ Sunmoon Oh told Fox 26. He told the outlet Ellison was homeless and would stay with him off and on.
“He had nothing, but yet even if he had something he would give it to you no questions asked.”
Oh said he found out that Ellison had been killed on social media.
“I see all these posts saying RIP Aiden and my heart dropped. I didn’t go to work that day, I barely ate anything that day, I just kinda sat on my bed and cried.”
This case is eerily similar to that of Jordan Davis, 17, in 2012. The Jacksonville teen was murdered outside a convenience store, while celebrating Thanksgiving with his three friends. His assailant, Michael Dunn, was convicted in February 2014 of three counts of attempted murder. That trial jury was not able to agree on a murder verdict, so Dunn was re-tried in October that year and he was convicted of first-degree murder. He is serving a life sentence.
Keegan was arraigned in court on Nov. 24 with these charges:
- Second Degree Manslaughter.
- Unlawful possession of a firearm. For concealing a weapon on his person without a concealed carry permit. In Oregon carrying a concealed firearm, either on your body or in a vehicle where it’s readily accessible is a Class A misdemeanor unless you: have a concealed carry license are a law enforcement officer or military member, or are hunting or fishing with a license.
- Reckless Endangerment – in regard to another individual present at the time of the shooting.