‘Senseless’ shooting of Australian student sparks calls for U.S. boycott

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN

They were younger than him, just teenagers who were driving around, apparently bored and looking for somebody to kill, according to police in Duncan, Oklahoma.

The indiscriminate shooting of Christopher Lane, a 23-year-old Australian who was living his dream of studying in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship, has repulsed many in his home country and led to calls for Australian tourists to boycott the United States.

“It is another example of murder mayhem on Main Street,” former Australian deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer told CNN’s Piers Morgan.

“People thinking of going to the USA for business or tourists trips should think carefully about it given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita per million people.”

australianbaseballplayer

Police say Lane was on one of his regular runs through what’s been described as the affluent town of Duncan on Friday at about 3 p.m. local time when a car carrying three teenagers drove up behind him.

“They pulled up behind him and shot him in the back then sped away,” said Capt. Jay Evans of Duncan Police Department. “It could have been anybody — it was such a random act.”

It was the indiscriminate nature of the attack that has shocked many in Australia.

One local newspaper, under mug shots of the three suspects, aged 15, 16 and 17, ran the headline: “Faces of Evil: The teens American police say shot our star.”

At the time of writing, a Facebook page set up in his honor, R.I.P Christopher Lane, had more than 46,000 followers, many of whom described his murder as “senseless” and “tragic.”

Lane grew up in Oak Park, a northern suburb of Melbourne in the southern state of Victoria. He showed sporting talent early on and started playing tee ball, the little league version of baseball, at the age of 7, according to Essendon Baseball Club president Tony Cornish.

“It’s shocked our world. The baseball community in Australia is a tight-knit group. Most baseballers know most baseballers and everyone’s shattered,” Cornish told CNN.

Cornish said Lane was a “very good athlete” who could have played Australian Rules football but chose baseball because it offered him the chance of a college education in America.

“If it didn’t work out he could have come back to Australia with an education and also been a much better baseballer. He would have been an elite player in Australia and at our club. That’s the type of kid he is — he created a ‘win- win,’ in a way, for himself,” he said.

Lane’s friends and family are being invited to a memorial game in his honor on Sunday, and a donation page has been set up on its website to raise money for a memorial fund in his name.

Lane’s girlfriend of four years, Sarah Harper, visited the scene of his death on Tuesday, a grassy curb on a suburban street where flowers have been placed with messages of regret and condolence.

“(He was) such an amazing person and I’m going to miss him forever. But I’m really glad that I got the four years with him,” Harper told reporters. She and her family will be traveling to Melbourne for Lane’s funeral on a date still to be set.

Lane’s visibly distraught father, Peter, told the media: “He’s left his mark as we know, and you know there’s not going to be any good come out of this, because it was just so senseless.”

A former student and classmate at East Central University (ECU) where Lane was studying described him as “a charming guy, genuinely good person, with great character and had a love for life.”

“As clichéd as it sounds, Chris was the kind of guy you want your sons to grow up to be and that you want your daughters to marry. It just breaks my heart knowing how much more he could have brought to this world as a husband, father, son, brother and friend,” Sam Malchar said.

On Tuesday, three teenagers appeared in court charged over the attack, which came one day before they were due to return to school.

James Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Luna, 16, were charged as adults with felony murder in the first degree, according to Kaylee Chandler, Stephens County Court clerk.

Michael Jones, 17, faces two charges — use of a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and accessory after the fact to murder in the first degree.

A judge set bond at $1 million for Jones, while no bond was set for Edwards and Luna, Chandler said.

Security is being tightened around the Duncan School District after anonymous phone threats were made to Duncan High School.

Schools will open as normal on Wednesday, but students won’t be allowed to leave for lunch and parents are being told they can keep their children at home if they wish, according to a statement from school district officials.

 TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

20 comments

  • fed up

    The bigger question is, why weren't these bored morons charged with a hate crime?? It works every time it happens the other way. Maybe the people in Australia need to march and protest to get this done!!!!

    • gwhizz really

      They weren't all minorities, and Austrailians arent part of the list and right now it was beyond an issue of hate…that requires an emotional context. These three appear (with more to come I am sure) to have at least one or two totally full blown sociopathic states of minds. There was no sense of right, wrong, nor emotion associated with the act…Think for a moment about the perfect storm that created Leopold and Loeb?

  • Jim

    Why aren't pictures of the three accused killers shown? Why isn't their race even mentioned? I thought it was quite noticeable that no pictures of the accused were shown on the WGN TV News at 9PM the other night either. Why? Could it be that the accused are black youths? I think your bias is showing! I'd like to see full reporting, of both sides of a story, not just an edited version according to your bias.

    • Tim

      It wasn't a hate crime like when your hero George "Dead Man Walking" Zimmerman stalked and killed an innocent unarmed African American teenager so why does race matter? As stated this was clearly a random act of senseless violence. Oh I see you just want to vent because you're angry white race baiter. Sucks to be you, all angry and what not.

      • Mark

        Tim if read the time line you will see they did stalk him and follow him. I wonder if you really know if the person you are responding to is "white" or are you the race baiter here.

  • down with NRA

    why did it have to be an innocent? Why couldn't it be a member or leader of the NRA? Maybe then we could really deal with the gun issues in this country.

  • keeping real

    come to America the Wild, Wild West baby!! bring your A-game!! anybody from the Hood would have seen that car sneak up? some one should have told him about young morons and cowards?

  • Guest

    I'm sure Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will be setting up press conferences to talk about this tragedy soon. We are all Trayvon, you know.

  • Cecilia

    Three blacks kills a white person for boredom, 2 black kids shot and killed a white little boy in a stroller in front of his mother. Where’s the outrage. Where’s the media. They don’t care. But they cared for a thug Travon is was not innocent. Who robbed houses. And they still talk about him. Where’s All the racist, Obama, Sharpin, Jackson. Somebody needs to step up and sue these racist suppose to be leaders.

  • joe

    The main stream media has no creditablity. They are afraid of their own shaddow and they are the biggest enablers. Celebrate Used Car Salesmen, the TV reporter has replaced you as the most unethical, least respected occupation.

  • A sorrowful Amercian

    Dear former Prime Minister, this horrific event is NOT an issue about a gun…it's about a much bigger insanity that does indeed plague our country, maybe more than others since much of our violence like that which occurs in your country involving guns (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-15/gunman-ties-up-staff-in-cafe-robbery/4889268) is not socially or politically motivated. As an American I am ashamed at times what we are doing to way too many children in our society, but it is not a gun, or the gun that is to blame.

  • anonymous

    Actually it was not 3 black guys it was 2 white boys and 1 black boy so some of you need to check facts before posting comments and as far as you people bashing trayvon what proof do you have that he was robbing houses? If this is true what was he going to use as a tool? The juice that he had or the skittles?

  • SouthSide

    Another good kid, student /athlete taken by uneducated mutts that our american society protects and funds thru welfare, excuses, drugs and cries of racism…We see it in the 30 shootings per week here in Chicago! I'm 100% sure these cowards wouldnt have taken aim at a fellow black person!!!!
    CNN, get your cameras in front of Obama, Eric Holder to see what they say about this!….
    Obama should be so lucky to have one of his daughters ever being with a good kid, student, athlete as Christopher Lane……..on the other hand, maybe his precious daughters should be with a Trayvon or one of the (soon to be) 3 death row dogs that killed this promising Australian kid….
    Our apologies and sympathies to his family and to Austrailia……The Austrailian outback would be a proper sentence for these meaningless mutts….as crocodile bait!!!!!!

  • fed up

    Gee, all you do goodies……how do you feel now that it's been reported that this attack IS racially motivated(attackers own words). Tim, I hope you're listening!!!!! I hope your words taste good. AND it WAS two black kids and ONE white(driver) kid. Let's see if the major racists—— Jackson(pick one), Sharpton, Farakon, Obama decide to condemn what their own "people" did to an innocent person. At least he had something to contribute to society instead of (again) making the rest of us pay for your defense— because of your poor upbringing— and your existence for the rest of your prison time. I hope the inmates don't get bored with you!!!!!

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