U.S. Rep. Tom Cole apologized Wednesday to Australians for the “senseless” killing of Christopher Lane.
The shooting victim is from Australia and was a catcher for the East Central University baseball team. He was fatally shot Friday while jogging in Duncan, where he frequently visited his girlfriend.
“It is with sadness that I offer my sincere sympathy and send my prayers to the family and friends of Chris Lane as they grieve the loss of a loved individual,” Cole, R-Moore, said in a statement. “To our dear friends in Australia, I extend my profound apology for this senseless, brutal crime that sadly occurred in my state and district.”
Cole said he has visited Australia several times in his years in Congress. He called the country a steadfast friend and ally of the United States.
“There are no words that will help us make sense of the tragic loss of Chris Lane or truly express the sympathy felt by those living in Oklahoma. It is heinous crimes like these that shake our state and nation and leave our hearts broken,” he said.
The shooting has outraged Australians. Some there have called for a boycott on travel to the United States.
The U.S. State Department has addressed the furor two days in a row.
“The American people are certainly shocked at this utterly senseless and tragic loss,” a State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said Wednesday during a daily media briefing. “We know local authorities are committed to bringing those responsible to justice.
“And we respect, of course, the right of all Australians to express their views on any issue, including this one. Obviously, it's a tragedy. The loss of a child, the loss of a loved one — that's always a tragedy,” she said.
The Oklahoma medical examiner's office reported Wednesday that Lane died from a “penetrating gunshot wound to back.”
There was conflicting information on the victim's age. Duncan police reported he was 23. The medical examiner's office and East Central University reported he was 22.