Juveniles arrested in shooting death of Australian national
Baseball player, Chris Lane, was out for a jog
Banner Staff The Duncan Banner
A young man was jogging on Country Club Road Friday afternoon when he was gunned down in a random act of violence.
Three local juveniles are now in custody in the Stephens County Jail, on a complaint of First Degree Murder, confirmed Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford.
Chris Lane, 22, an Australian national who was here to finish school at East Central University in Ada, was shot and killed at about 2:57 p.m. near the intersection of Twilight Beach and Country Club Road.
Police officers quickly responded and an immediate manhunt was initiated to find the suspects whose names have not yet been released. They could appear in Stephens County District Court as early as Monday morning. That will be up to District Attorney Jason Hicks, who was at the scene Friday, along with officers from multiple agencies.
A phone call from a residence at 111 W. Ash at 7:05 p.m. gave officers the break they needed.
“The reporting person said there were juveniles there with guns and they were wanting to kill somebody,” Ford said. He didn’t say if the reporting person was an adult or juvenile.
Officers responded and found three young men, ages 15, 16 and 17, near a Black Honda Civic, in the parking lot of Immanuel Baptist Church, directly across from the residence at Ash.
Ford said the officer reported the juveniles were uncooperative and detectives were also requested to the scene.
A dismantled shotgun was found in the back of the vehicle, but not the gun that was used to shoot Lane. That gun has not yet been recovered.
Initially, it was believed there were four juveniles involved, but the fourth one was ruled out and not believed to have even been involved. He happened to be at the area when the suspect trio was interviewed, Ford said.
At the time of the shooting, Ford said quick action by the officers and area businesses, homeowners and even Duncan Public School District, helped identify the vehicle in which the alleged suspects were in. Ford said video surveillance was obtained and enhanced which helped in the search.
Few details about the actual shooting or the juveniles can be released yet, Ford said, since the suspects have not been officially charged.
What Ford did share was chilling though. He said the boys were in a house located on Country Club Road when they saw Lane leave his place of residence to go jogging north on that road.
“These three saw the jogger go by. By the time they got in their car, he had already passed Plato. It was random.”
Ford also said that in reviewing the suspects Facebook pages, it appeared they were keeping a log, indicating an animal also may have been killed earlier that day or the day before.
Lane, who had only returned from his home country of Australia three days earlier, was staying with his girlfriend and her family.
He plays baseball for ECU and the couple had spent most of the summer in Australia.
The girlfriend, who is grieving, declined an interview with The Banner Saturday, as she tries to process what has happened. Another member of the family asked to remain anonymous and said Lane was definitely a member of their family.
“He didn’t know a lot of people here and he really was a good guy with a bright future ahead of him,” the family member shared.
Ford said the Australian consulate also had been notified. The girlfriend's family had already called Lane’s father with the tragic news.
Ford said that during the initial investigation Friday, officers had many unanswered questions, but they were fairly certain that whoever the shooter was, had to have been someone local. The path of the fleeing vehicle had to have been familiar to the suspect. Those exact details also have not been released.
Ford said DPD has received some phone calls from people who were concerned about safety in the community.
“They’re in jail. The problem is locked up,” he said.
“We have had problems with two of the three juveniles in the past,” Ford said. When officers responded to the report at 7:05 p.m. Friday, one of the juveniles was recognized by one of the officers, based on previous contact, Ford said.
Lane’s body was taken to the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office.
Ford declined to say how many times he was shot but indicated the M.E. was nearly ready to release him to the family.
The anonymous family member told The Banner that Lane will be taken back to Australia.