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Local News

August 20, 2013

Australia shocked, in mourning following killing in Duncan

DUNCAN — The slaying of a 22-year-old Australian national gunned down for no apparent reason is a shocking story in Duncan, but it’s an even bigger news across the Land Down Under.

“It has been the lead, the main story in Australia even though there is an election going on there at the moment,” said Robert Penfold, a correspondent for Channel 9 Australia who traveled from Los Angeles to Duncan to cover the story.

Penfold was among at least three correspondents for Australian national media outlets in Duncan on Monday to report on the slaying of 22-year-old Chris Lane, who was shot dead while jogging along Country Club Road in Duncan on Friday.

Formal charges are expected to be filed today against three teens who were arrested a few hours after the shooting. Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said one of the suspects, a 17-year-old, told them he and the others were bored and just out to kill someone.

Penfold said guns are much harder to obtain in Australia than in the United States and any type of gun violence is noteworthy in his country.

Added to that, he said, was that Lane was simply an Australian enjoying his stay in America only to killed “by teenagers driving along with a gun and picking someone out at random and shooting them in the back..”

Lachlan Kennedy, a U.S. correspondent for Network 10 Australia, said the story took on added significance in Australia when Lane’s parents spoke there on Sunday about losing their son.

“That really pushed the story along in the sense that they were so honest and heartbroken and it was quite emotional,” he said. “There has been an outpouring of grief across Australia, not only because they don’t understand but they can see this family’s pain and really connect with them.”

Peter Mitchell, a North American correspondent for Australia AP, said its the dream of many Australians to come to the United States.

“To achieve that and then for that dream to end up on the side of the road, the dream turns to a nightmare,” Mitchell said.

Penfold said it was difficult for anyone to make sense of the tragedy.

“In Australia it’s waking up and finding that a nice young man with a lovely American girlfriend is gunned down and his body was found on the side of the street,” he said. “In the Bushland that’s frightening.”

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