BREAKING: DUNCAN (AP) — Prosecutors filed charges against three teenagers Tuesday after police said the boys randomly targeted an Australian baseball player as he jogged and shot him in the back, killing him, to avoid the boredom of an Oklahoma summer day.
Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne, died Friday along a tree-lined road on Duncan's well-to-do north side. Two teenagers, 15- and 16-year-olds from the gritty part of the town, were charged with first-degree murder and ordered held without bond.
A third, age 17, was accused of being an accessory after the fact and with driving a vehicle while a weapon was discharged. He said in open court “I pulled the trigger,” but the judge directed him to remain quiet and said Tuesday was not the day to discuss the facts of the case.
DUNCAN — The 17-year-old driver in a shooting that left a East Central University athlete from Australia dead admitted the slaying was a random thrill killing, the police chief said Monday.
About 3 p.m. Friday, Christopher Lane, 23, was found with a gunshot wound to his lower back on Country Club Road just south of Twilight Beach Drive in Duncan, Police Chief Danny Ford said. He died about an hour later at a hospital.
Three juvenile male suspects — ages 15, 16 and 17 — were arrested in connection with the shooting, but they will not be named until they are charged, Ford said.
First-degree murder charges against the three are expected to be filed Tuesday in Stephens County, he said.
Police used surveillance footage from local businesses to identify the car thought to be involved in the shooting, and the teens were located inside the vehicle in a church parking lot after a caller reported that juveniles with guns were at the address threatening to kill someone, Ford said.
The 17-year-old — who Ford said admitted to being the driver — told investigators that the 16-year-old pulled the trigger. The 15-year-old was reportedly just a passenger in the car during the shooting, Ford said.
Sunday afternoon, the 17-year-old admitted that the teens had been in a house a quarter-mile to half-mile south of the shooting scene when they saw Lane pass by and designated him as their target, Ford said.
“They followed him, shot him in the back and drove off,” he said.
“When asked why he did it, he said, ‘We were bored and decided to kill somebody,'” Ford said.
Investigators discovered a dismantled shotgun with the serial numbers ground off in the trunk underneath the spare tire, but the gun used in the killing — thought to be a small-caliber revolver — has not been found, he said.
“He did tell us where they left the gun, and they have scoured the area, but we have not recovered the weapon,” Ford said.
Lane played baseball for the ECU Tigers and started 14 games as a catcher earlier this year, according to the Tigers website. He is from Melbourne, Australia, and also played baseball at a prep school in a suburb of that city before attending Redlands Community College in El Reno, according to the Tigers website.
Tyler Iago met Lane at Redlands, where they played together for two seasons before Lane earned his associate degree and moved to Ada to complete his bachelor's degree in business.
“I'm a pitcher, and he's a catcher. Anyone who knows baseball knows the relationship between pitcher and catcher is one-of-a-kind,” Iago said.
“We've seen each other at our worst, and we've seen each other at our best. Nine months of the year for two years straight, every day of the year,” he said.
Iago said when he suffered an elbow injury, Lane — who had suffered a shoulder injury and also missed a season — was there to empathize.
“He really picked me up and helped me stay positive through the whole thing. He was really there for me,” Iago said.
Lane regularly visited Duncan to visit his girlfriend, Sarah Harper, Iago said. The couple had made the relationship, which spanned not only the state but continents, work through the four years.
“This summer, she went back with him (to Australia), and they spent all summer together. He always found a way to make it work,” Iago said.
Iago and another former Redlands teammate put together the Christopher Lane fund through the crowdfunding site GoFundMe on Monday. The fund was created cover the cost of taking his body to Melbourne and his funeral arrangements.
Nearly $1,300 of the $15,000 goal had been reached by 8:30 p.m. Monday.
“It hit us pretty hard. It happened to be me and three of his former teammates together when we found out. It's weighed heavy on our hearts. Anything that we're able to do locally here, I feel it's the least we can do for him for all the things he's done for us over the past two years,” Iago said.