Oliver "Ollie" Taylor, a 17-year-old transgender boy, has died a week after a shootout between police and his alleged kidnapper in Oregon. According to a report from local CBS affiliate KOIN, police in Gervais, Oregon, arrested Kenneth Williams Peden III and charged him in connection with the kidnapping and killing of Taylor following a wild chase and shootout with police on May 12. Taylor passed away May 19. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the cost of funeral expenses. Taylor is the 27th known American transgender or nonbinary person to have died from violence so far in 2021.
"Oliver was just at the beginning of his life, a life that never should have been cut short," Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement. "This is a tragic loss for Oliver's friends, family and community. This violence must cease."
Police in Gervais, a suburb of Salem in northwest Oregon, said they responded to a call around 3:45 p.m. on May 12, and found Arik Reed, a 22-year-old friend of Taylor, suffering from a gunshot wound. Police said Peden shot Reed in the act of kidnapping Taylor, and then fled in a white Ford F-150 truck with the teen. Reed was taken to a local hospital where he is recovering from his injuries.
A short time later, Marion County Sheriffs and police officers from neighboring Silverton pursued the truck with Peden and Taylor in a chase through city streets and onto a local highway. Police described a wild and frightening scene, with gun shots reportedly fired at police from the moving truck. The chase eventually ended, Peden was arrested, and Taylor was discovered to be suffering from life-threatening gunshot wounds. Oregon Live reported that Peden had seriously injured Taylor while attempting to murder him with a handgun. Taylor was taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries last Wednesday, May 19.
Peden has been charged with multiple counts of kidnapping, murder, attempted murder, evading arrest, and shooting at police. Authorities have not released any information as to why Peden had allegedly attempted to kidnap and kill Taylor.
The family said Taylor was granted his "final desire of donating organs" and thanked concerned well-wishers for the "prayers, meals, phone calls, and other messages of support" the family has received. They described Ollie on social media as "amazing child with a quirky sense of humor, who impacted so many people" and said he will be missed terribly.
The family also said it was Ollie's desire that "as people move through the grieving process, that they do not allow their hearts to dwell on thoughts of anger, but to channel that time and energy into helping those around you."
Families wishing to help Taylor's family can make a donation to a GoFundMe page set up to help the family cover expenses. To date they have raised over $17,000 for the goal of $25,000.