The arbitrary 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.
It’s also led to calls for Australian tourists to boycott the United States, according to CNN.
This has been “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," Fischer told CNN.
Officials say Lane, who was visiting the U.S. on a baseball scholarship at East Central University, was jogging along a road in Duncan, Okla., after visiting his girlfriend on Friday when he was shot in the back, allegedly by the teens, according to Fox News.
Prosecutor Jason Hicks called the boys who killed Lane “thugs” as he described how Lane was shot once in the back and died along a tree-lined road on Duncan’s well-to-do north side. He said the three teens, from the grittier part of town, chose Lane at random and that one of the boys “thinks it's all a joke,” according to The Huffington Post.
Hicks charged Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, of Duncan, with first-degree murder. Under Oklahoma law they will be tried as adults. Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, of Duncan, was charged with using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and with accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court, reports The Huffington Post.
A Facebook page set up in his honor, R.I.P Christopher Lane, had more than 57,000 followers Wednesday afternoon. The most recent post indicates Lane’s friends are planning a walk in memory of him. They also plan to set 23 white doves free – presumably one for each year of his life.
Lane grew up in Oak Park, a northern suburb of Melbourne in the southern state of Victoria, according to CNN. 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.
Police Chief Dan Ford said in a variety of media interviews since Friday's killing that one suspect told officers that he and other boys were bored and that they followed Lane and killed him for “the fun of it,” CNN reported.
“He went by a residence where these three boys were, they picked him as a target, they went out and got in a vehicle and followed him,” Ford told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, according to AFP. “[They] came up from behind and basically shot him in the back with a small caliber weapon, then sped away.”
A woman tried CPR and paramedics arrived on scene, but Lane was pronounced dead an hour later. Richard Rhodes, a builder who discovered Lane lying face down, said he was targeted with a .22 caliber revolver, according to CNN.