The “senseless” death of the young baseball fanatic – apparently chosen at random – leaves his family and girlfriend devastated.
An Australian student on a baseball scholarship in the US has been gunned down for “the fun of it”, in an alleged random shooting by three teenagers.
Chris Lane, 23, was jogging in the small town of Duncan in Oklahoma last Friday, after visiting his girlfriend Sarah Harper, when he was shot in the back and left to die.
“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,” said Danny Ford, chief of Duncan Police Department.
“(They) came up from behind and basically shot him in the back with a small calibre weapon, then sped away.”
Witnesses saw him stumble across the road and collapse in the gutter.
A woman tried CPR, and paramedics were quickly on the scene, but the student was pronounced dead an hour later.
The young couple had only been back in the US for three days after visiting Chris’ family in Melbourne.
Sarah posted an emotional tribute on Facebook, calling their four years together “the most amazing of my life”.
“I love you so much babe,” she wrote.
“From 2009 until forever you will always be mine and in a very special and protected place in my heart.”
The student’s devastated father, Peter Lane, said his son’s death was so pointless.
“There’s not going to be any good come out of this because it was just so senseless,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“There wasn’t anything he did or could have done. He was an athlete going for a jog like he would do five or six days a week in terms of his training schedule. To try and understand it is a short way to insanity.”
Police in Oklahoma said it appeared the 15, 16 and 17-year-olds were on a “killing spree”, after leaving a chilling message on Facebook.
“They wanted to be Billy Bob Badasses,” Chief Ford said.
“I think they were on a killing spree. We would have had more bodies that night if we didn’t get them.”
On one of the alleged killer’s Facebook pages, investigators said they found the message: “Bang. Two drops in two hours.”
The boys were arrested, with the 17-year-old allegedly confessing to the killing, saying it was done “for the fun of it”.
The three are due to face first degree murder charges, which carry a potential death penalty in Oklahoma.