A rural Oklahoma shooting has drawn widespread attention in Australia after a visiting student was randomly shot and killed by “bored” teenagers looking for a target, police said.
Chris Lane, 22, a baseball player on scholarship with East Central University, was reportedly shot in the back Friday while jogging in the small town of Duncan in southern Oklahoma. Lane, a catcher, was from Melbourne, Australia.
Three teens, ages 15, 16 and 17, saw him running by and followed him in a car before shooting him, Duncan police Chief Danny Ford told the Associated Press.
“They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,’ ” Ford told the AP. “The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.’”
The three teens have been arrested and were expected to be charged with first-degree murder Tuesday.
Lane’s girlfriend, Sarah Harper, whom he was visiting in Duncan, told ABC News’ Australian division that the couple just returned from a visit to Australia two days before the shooting.
“It’s been pretty unbearable, he was so close to home and that there was nothing that could have changed the outcome,” she told ABC, adding that she’d never heard of the boys before the shooting.
“They’re just bad people,” she added. “It’s sick that they could do something like this; see him run by and then just pick him. I don’t have any intention to see them. I don’t want to know what they look like.”
Police told the Oklahoman newspaper that the 17-year-old said he drove the car and that the 16-year-old shot Lane as the 15-year-old rode along. The three were arrested in a church parking lot. Police said they received a report that the teens were threatening to kill someone there, the newspaper reported.
Jennifer Luna, whose son reportedly is one of the suspects, told ABC in Australia that she didn’t think he was involved.
“I know in my heart that he did not pull the trigger but if he had anything to do with it, yes he does need to be punished,” she said. “I don’t believe he needs a life sentence or a death penalty. That’s my baby boy. It would kill me if my son got that kind of sentence.”
She told ABC that her son had been acting normally on the day of the shooting.
“He seemed like he always was, he told me he loved me. Then he said he was going to go and hang out, it’s the same thing every day,” she told ABC. “He didn’t act no different than any other day. Every kid likes to fight but as far as getting in trouble, he’s never been in trouble.”
According to the East Central University website, Lane, a junior and a finance major, had played in 14 games in 2013. He had transferred to ECU, located in Ada, Okla., about 90 miles from Duncan, after attending Redlands Junior College in El Reno, Okla., and previously attended St. Bernards College in Essendon, Australia.