A White Oregon man is being held without bail on murder charges after he fatally shot a 19-year-old Black man on November 23 during a confrontation over the victim playing loud music, police said.
According to KTVL, the incident occurred at the parking lot of the Stratford Inn Hotel where the suspect, 47-year-old Robert Keegan, and the victim, Aidan Ellison, were both guests. Keegan was reportedly lodging at the hotel with his son after their home was gutted by the Oregon Almeda Fire.
“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,” Ashland Police chief, Tighe O’Meara, said.
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Ellison was shot once in the chest and succumbed to his injuries despite efforts by paramedics to revive him. “It was utterly senseless, didn’t need to happen, people getting violent with each other for such stupid reasons,” O’Meara said, NBC5 News reported. “Unfortunately, there was nothing to be done [about the victim’s injuries].”
Narrating the incident, O’Meara said the hotel’s desk clerk called officers the dawn of the shooting to report a violent altercation at the parking lot, adding that Keegan, who was still at the crime scene when officers arrived, was also unlawfully in possession of a fireman. The suspect was immediately arrested and taken into custody when officers arrived.
“Keegan not only obviously murdered the victim, he also recklessly endangered the hotel clerk by discharging the gun near the hotel clerk,” O’Meara said. “It started over some loud music and Keegan going down the confront the man over the loud music.”
O’Meara added: “I would encourage people to let us handle disputes and not go out and get into arguments with people unnecessarily.”
“Aidan had the kindest kind of soul, you know, he, he would say for all his feelings, just so he didn’t hurt yours. He was a good kid. He was full of laughter love. He, he was just a great person. He always liked to have fun,” the victim’s friend told the news outlet.
Keegan is being held at the Jackson County Jail and his next court appearance is scheduled for December 2.