Candlelight vigil honors slain Ashland man Aidan Ellison

ASHLAND, Ore. – A Thanksgiving Vigil aims to shine a light on the circumstances surrounding a murder investigation that began this week.

A candlelight vigil was held earlier this evening after a 19-year-old black man was shot in the chest this week in Ashland. Friends of the victim are coming together to honor Aidan Ellison. They also said racism was a factor in Ellison’s murder, something Ashland Police have not told NBC5 News was a factor in the shooting. Police said his murder began with a dispute over loud music.

Over 50 people took over the Stratford Inn parking lot with candles in their hands, remembering Ashland High School graduate Aidan Ellison Thursday night. They worry his murder is an example of racism in Rogue Valley.

“I could tell you all the stereotypical stuff. He was special, he was kind he was a great guy, but he was so much more than that,” said Sunmoon Oh.

Oh said Ellison wasn’t just a best friend to him, he was a brother. Oh said Ellison was homeless, often sleeping on the Greenway or the railroad tracks. Eventually, Oh said Ellison lived with him off-and-on.

“He had nothing, but yet even if he had something he would give it to you no questions asked,” said Oh.

He told NBC5 he found out his brother died over social media.

“I see all these posts saying RIP Aidan and my heart dropped,” said Oh, “I didn’t go to work that day, I barely ate anything that day, I just kinda sat on my bed and cried”.

Now, Ellison’s death is sparking a conversation, advocates say is long overdue.

“Everyone kept saying if it’s gonna happen it wouldn’t happen in Ashland it would happen in Grants Pass, Rogue River, or White City. It would never happen in Ashland. Ashland’s too peaceful. Well look where we are today, we’re in Ashland. It can happen anywhere,” said Southern Oregon Activist,

The man accused of killing Ellison is facing murder charges and is behind bars. Ashland Police tell NBC5 the suspect was carrying a concealed firearm illegally.

Southern Oregon activists said this isn’t the end of Ellison’s legacy. They are holding a rally next week on December 2, 2020, at the Jackson County Courthouse.

Aidan Ellison’s friends have created a fundraiser, selling hoodies and t-shirts. They tell NBC5 all the profits will go to Ellison’s mother. Click HERE for more information.

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NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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