‘Aidan was murdered because he made a white man uncomfortable.’
An Oregon man accused of killing a Black teen at a hotel during a dispute over loud music has pleaded not guilty to the slaying.
Robert Paul Keegan 47, swears he is innocent in the murder of Aidan Ellison, 19, who he is accused of fatally shooting at the Stratford Inn hotel in Ashland.
As reported by Oregon Live, on Nov. 23, Keegan and Ellison who were both staying at the Stratford Inn in Ashland, Oregon, got into a confrontation around 4 a.m. when 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.
“It is completely immaterial what led up to it,” Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said in a statement. “Yes, there was an argument over music, no, this 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, 100 percent on him, not the poor young man that was murdered.”
O’Meara initially said in a since-deleted statement on Facebook that the pair were arguing about Ellison playing loud music in the parking lot. He later clarified his comments on Ashland Police’s Facebook page Thursday, The Oregonian reported.
Southern Oregon’s Black community, mainly the Southern Oregon Black Leaders, Activists, and Community Coalition (SOBLACC), has addressed the situation, pointing out “South Oregon’s racist history.”
“The murder of Aidan Ellison is another example of Southern Oregon’s racist history with and current practice of white supremacy,” SOBLACC said 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 reportedly pled not guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm and recklessly endangering another person. He is being held without bail and scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 22.
Ellison’s friend, Sunmoon Oh, a fellow guest at the hotel at the time and reported to be at risk of homelessness, told KMVU last week, “He had nothing, but yet even if he had something, he would give it to you, no questions asked.”
As theGrio previously reported, a vigil candlelight was held for Ellison on Thanksgiving Day.
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