Man who shot dead black teenage boy at Oregon hotel in brawl over loud music claims murder was in self-defense – but young man’s autopsy tells a different story , according to recently released court documents.
Robert Paul Keegan, 47, pleaded not guilty on Friday to several counts, including second degree murder, to the November 23 shooting death of Aidan Ellison, 19, at the Stratford Inn hotel, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said.
Authorities say Keegan, who is white, shot and killed Ellison in the chest during an argument over the teenager’s loud music from inside his car in the parking lot. He told officials Ellison punched him in the face when they met, which he said prompted him to remove a gun from his coat and open fire. However, an official autopsy report does not corroborate this claim, concluding that the teenager’s body did not show any injuries “which would have been a sign that he had hit Keegan.”
Keegan’s face showed no visible signs of injury, according to a newly unsealed probable cause affidavit filed in the Jackson County Circuit.
“The only thing that caused this murder were the actions of the suspect, 100%. It doesn’t matter what led to it, ”Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said in a statement Thursday. “Yes, there was an argument over the music, no, it didn’t happen because of the loud music, it happened because the suspect chose to bring a gun with him and chose to use it, 100% on him, not on the poor young man who was murdered. “
The Ashland Police Department said the incident began around 4:20 a.m. on November 23 after Keegan, who was staying at the Ashland Hotel with her 3-year-old son after being forced out of his home after a fire of forest, became enraged with Ellison. over the volume of music coming from inside his car.
According to the affidavit obtained for the first time by The Oregonian, Keegan told police he asked Ellison to turn down the music that woke him up, but the teenager refused. Keegan said he was then stressed out “and got his gun back” before going down to the hotel reception to complain.
The affidavit states that a hotel employee went to the parking lot to speak to the young man and, as they spoke, Keegan “confronted Ellison”, who was also a hotel guest. Keegan told police Ellison took the first step in the argument, hitting him in the face with her fist.
In response, Keegan claimed he backed down, “shot a bullet in the chest and shot Ellison because he feared for his personal safety,” the affidavit said. The shot, which was fired at around 4:33 a.m. with a 9mm handgun, hit Ellison’s heart and lungs, according to the autopsy report. The affidavit also concluded that either Ellison or Keegan had no injuries indicating that a physical fight had taken place.
“Ashland Fire and Rescue responded to the scene in an attempt to help, however, the man was beyond help,” police said in a statement, adding that the two had not previously known each other. “The suspect in the shooting was still at the scene and was immediately arrested and then taken into custody.”
Keegan was quickly arrested and her son was returned to his grandparents. He is being held without bond at the Jackson County Jail. His lawyer did not immediately return to the Daily Beast’s request for comment.
The fatal shooting sparked outrage across the state, including from an advocacy group that insisted Ellison’s death was “yet another example of southern Oregon’s racist history. and the current practice of white supremacy ”. On Thanksgiving Day, dozens of people gathered for a vigil outside the Stratford Inn in honor of the teenager, with another scheduled for December 2.
“To be clear, Aidan was murdered because he was a young black man who made a white man uncomfortable and refused to submit to the authority that this man personally perceived – not because he was listening. music too loud, ”said the Southern Oregon Black Leaders, Activists and Community Coalition said in a statement. “Aidan’s murder is not a black issue, but a community issue.
“It’s time for southern Oregon to make a real commitment to dismantling anti-black racism, by dedicating the time, energy and resources to create community conversations that unravel and address how the culture of the white supremacy among whites and non-blacks endangers security. black people, ”the group added.
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