A Black teen in Oregon was shot and killed by a white man for playing loud music, according to the Ashland Police Department.
At 4 a.m. on Nov. 23, Robert Paul Keegan approached 19-year-old Aidan Ellison in the parking lot of the Stratford Inn in Ashland, and confronted him for playing music loudly in the wee hours of the morning. Amid the ensuing argument, Keegan drew his gun and shot the teen once in his chest. Ellison — who was reportedly “beyond help” when emergency responders arrived — died at the scene of the crime.
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara initially reported the fatal shooting stemmed from an argument over his music, but after receiving backlash for his usage of words, he later clarified the murder was caused by nothing other than the suspect’s actions. “Yes, there was an argument over music. No, this did not happen because of loud music,” he wrote on Facebook. “It happened because the suspect chose to bring a gun with him and chose to use it. 100% on him, not the poor young man that was murdered.”
The Southern Oregon Black Leaders, Activists and Community Coalition concurred that Ellison’s death was not a result of him blasting music.
“The murder of Aidan Ellison is another example of Southern Oregon’s racist history with and current practice of white supremacy,” they wrote in a statement. “Aidan was murdered because he was a young Black person who made a white man uncomfortable and refused to submit to that man’s personally-perceived authority — not because he was listening to music too loudly.”
Keegan has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter, reckless endangering and unlawful carrying of a firearm. He remains in jail with no bond and is slated to appear in court on Feb. 21.
Per Fox26, Ellison’s loved ones honored the slain teen’s life on Thanksgiving with a candlelight vigil in the Stratford Inn parking lot where he died. A GoFundMe has also been set up in his name.