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Race and Ethnicity

Aidan Ellison’s Family Plans Lawsuits Over Shooting Death In Ashland

Attorney Justin Rosas, left, and Andrea Wofford announce they are filing two lawsuits over the death of Wofford's teenage son, Aidan Ellison, who police say was shot and killed by a white man in Ashland.
April Ehrlich / JPR News
At the Ashland Railroad Park on Jan. 12, Attorney Justin Rosas, left, and Andrea Wofford announce they are filing two lawsuits over the death of Wofford's teenage son, Aidan Ellison, who police say was shot and killed by a white man in Ashland.

In November a Black teenager in Ashland was reportedly shot and killed by a white man during an argument about loud music. Now, Aidan Ellison’s family is suing.

Police say 47-year-old Robert Keegan shot and killed 19-year-old Aidan Ellison at 4 a.m. in the parking lot of the Stratford Inn, where they were both guests.

Ellison’s mother, Andrea Wofford, announced at a press conference on Tuesday that her family plans to file two lawsuits — one against Keegan for her son’s death, and another against the Stratford Inn for alleged recklessness that led to the shooting.

“Other than that, what can I do?” Wofford says. “Can’t bring him back. I just don’t want it to happen to someone else’s son, or daughter, and swept under a rug.”

Keegan remains at the Jackson County Jail under several charges, including first- and second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, and unlawfully possessing a firearm. His pre-trial conference is set for mid-February.

On Nov. 23, Keegan notified hotel staff that Ellison was playing loud music in the parking lot, according to police reports. They say he then argued with Ellison, returned to his room, got a gun, and shot him in front of a hotel staff member.

Keegan has a history of abuse, according to court documents from 2012 and 2013, in which a judge assigned him to battery intervention after violating a restraining order.

Attorney Justin Rosas says the lawsuits against Keegan and the hotel will help Ellison’s family gain access to more information about Ellison's death through the legal process of discovery.

“We will find that information out using the civil process, in some ways because we have to,” Rosas says.

His office also aims to create an independent civil remedies investigation unit to “hold the civil system accountable and explore additional remedies,” reads a press release.

“Our community must create solutions both inside and outside of existing institutions in order to create an antiracist Southern Oregon,” it reads. “This team is committed to training a certified racial equity investigator who can be dispatched quickly when cases of racial bias and discrimination occur.”