Black Teen Shot Dead in Argument Over Playing Loud Music in Motel Parking Lot

A Black teenager was murdered following an argument at a motel in Oregon over music, police said.

Aidan Ellison, 19, was named by local media as the victim in a shooting outside the Stratford Inn in Ashland on Monday.

Officers arrived shortly after 4:20 a.m. and found the teenager with a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Robert Keegan, 47, from the city of Talent, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm and recklessly endangering another person, relating to a third individual present at the time of the shooting.

Ashland Police Department said in a statement: "On arrival a man was found deceased, having suffered a single gunshot wound to his chest. Ashland Fire and Rescue responded to the scene to attempt to render aid, however the man was beyond help. The suspect in the shooting was still on scene and was immediately detained, and later taken into custody.

"The investigation indicates that Keegan and the victim, who did not know each other, were engaged in an argument in the parking lot when Keegan pulled a gun from his coat and fired a single shot, striking the victim in the chest."

Tighe O'Meara, Ashland Police chief, told local news outlet KTVL: "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."

Precious Edmonds, a spokesperson for the Southern Oregon Black Leaders, Activists and Community Coalition, told OregonLive that the organization planned a meeting to discuss the death of the teenager.

She suggested the way the crime had been described by police and local news outlets suggested it was the victim's fault for playing music, which she said had undertones of white supremacy.

"He was listening to his music too loudly—that's irrelevant," Edmonds said. "It doesn't change a thing, how good the man who shot him was. All of those things are not relevant to what occurred. But that's the narrative, that's the frame of white supremacy."

Responding to criticism, O'Meara said in a subsequent statement on Facebook: "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, 100% on him, not the poor young man that was murdered."

Stratford Inn Ashland
A view of the Stratford Inn in Ashland. Police said the killing took place in the parking lot. Google Maps

Keegan was living in the motel with his son after he was forced to move by wildfires that affected the area in September.

A fundraiser for the suspect and his son, who is said to be in third grade, raised nearly $8000 after the fire. O'Meara said Keegan's son was now being looked after by a grandparent.

KTVL reported that Ellison's death was the first alleged homicide in the city this year.

Police are continuing to investigate the Almeda wildfire, which killed three and displaced thousands.

The fire is believed to have had at least three origins that merged into one large blaze. One arrest has been made.

Violet Lobdell, 92, and Donald Schmidt, 55, who lived in the same trailer park, died in the fire. The third victim has not yet been identified.