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Local News

August 19, 2013

Formal charges coming in shooting death of Australian man

DUNCAN — Formal charges are expected to be filed Tuesday in the death of a 22-year-old Australian man gunned down while jogging in Duncan in what police say was a random, drive-by shooting by three teenage boys.

Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said one of the suspects, a 17-year-old, told police the teens were bored on Friday and “they just wanted to see some die, or kill someone.”

Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks said charges were not filed Monday because his office needed more time to review police reports and other evidence.

Three male teenagers from Duncan — ages 15, 16 and 17 — were arrested a few hours after Chris Lane was shot and killed around 3 p.m. Friday while he was jogging along Country Club Road on Duncan’s north side.

The boys were in a house on Country Club Road when they saw Lane jogging north on the road, Ford said. They drove by and one fired a shot into Lane’s back, leaving him to die.

The three teens were being held on murder complaints but Hicks said no formal charges would be filed until Tuesday. He declined to say what the charges would be or whether any or all of the teens would be tried as adults.

“We needed an extra day to look at it,” Hicks said.

Ford said the 17-year-old suspect implicated the 16-year-old as the one who pulled the trigger while the three drove by in a car. The 17-year-old was the only one providing any details, he said.

Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney said the teens were being isolated from one another and other inmates at the Stephens County Jail.

Police have not found the gun or bullet casing but Ford said statements made by the 17-year-old lead police to think it might have been a revolver.

Lane was a baseball player at East Central University in Ada and had only returned to Oklahoma from his native Australia three days prior to his death. He was staying with his girlfriend and her family in Duncan.

Ford discounted speculation that the shooting might have been gang-related.

“Gangs shoot each other, they don’t shoot people walking down the street,” he said.

Jennifer Luna of Duncan, who said she was the mother of the 16-year-old being held, said Monday that she had been unable to have contact with her son or get any information about possible charges.

“If he was involved he needs to be punished, but I do believe in my heart that he did not pull the trigger,” said Luna, crying as she spoke with reporters in the lobby of the Stephens County Courthouse.

Luna said she knew the other two teens who were arrested and she had asked one of them to quit coming to her house. She said she didn’t think the other boy could “ever have been involved in something like this.”

She said her own son — the 16-year-old — had been kicked out of Duncan High School last year because there had been two deaths in the family and he had the flu and fell behind.

She said he was scheduled to return as a sophomore at Duncan High when classes began on Tuesday after the summer break.

“He said,  Mom, I’m ready to go back, I’m ready to do something with my life,’” Luna said.

She said the boys were not involved in gangs.

“These are wannabes down here and they talk all this stuff and they are just young kids.” she said. “This has nothing to do with gang-related.

“I just don’t understand these kids, I really don’t. I don’t know why they had to prove a point, I just don’t understand. I tell my kids all the time, ‘Make something out of your lives because this is hard.”’

Luna said she was a single parent and worked hard to make ends meet. Her heart went out to Lane’s family, she said.

“I feel for them, I really do and I apologize,” she said.

The three boys were tracked down with the help of video surveillance from businesses in Duncan and from a caller who said the teens had guns and wanted to kill someone.

Police found the teens near a black vehicle in the parking lot of Immanuel Baptist Church early Friday evening. A dismantled shotgun was found in the vehicle, but that was not the weapon used to shoot Lane in the back.

Ford, as well as Sheriff McKinney, said Duncan was a pretty safe community overall despite the shooting, but it was a reminder that no place is immune from violence.

 

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