The abject senselessness of the killing may be the most striking feature of the Oklahoma shooting that saw a promising young Australian baseball player gunned down in a drive-by shooting on the streets of a small Oklahoma city Friday. The three teens alleged to be responsible for that act were charged in a Duncan, Okla., courtroom Monday. ABC News reported (via Yahoo News) Aug. 20 that, according to Duncan police, 22-year-old Chris Lane was the apparent victim of random choice, chosen simply because three teens were "bored" and "wanted to see somebody die."
Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford told ABCNews.com: "They were bored and just wanted to see somebody die." The motive appeared to be discouragingly simplistic, not to mention mindlessly senseless.
Prosecutors who filed the charges against the three teen shooting suspects used Ford's words nearly verbatim.
Ford said that the three had followed Lane in their vehicle as he jogged along the side of the road in the small Oklahoma town. They then shot him in the back and left him as he staggered to a stop, fell to his knees and toppled over. Witnesses who saw Lane after he was shot rushed to his aid but were unable to revive him.
According to the Duncan Banner, automatic pleas of "not guilty" were entered for the teens, who Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks labeled "thugs." Involved in the shooting were suspected triggerman Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Edwards Jr., 15, who were charged with felony first-degree murder and will be tried as adults. The third suspect, 17-year-old Michael Dewayne Jones, was charged with use of a vehicle in the discharge of weapon and accessory to murder after the fact.
Luna and Edwards were held without bond. Jones, who was the only one of the three that reportedly cooperated with authorities, was held on a $1 million bond.
Reporters and television crews, many from Lane's native Australia, thronged the small courtroom in Duncan. Along with the large crowd present to witness the proceedings, the unprecedented numbers forced authorities to move to a larger courtroom.
Due to the callousness of the act and the international aspect, much in the vein the Amanda Knox arrest and trial in Italy, the case has drawn considerable attention.
"He said the motive was, 'We were going to kill somebody,'" Police Chief Ford told Australian radio station 3AW (via CNN). "They decided all three of them were going to kill somebody."
"It was random," he told UPI in a separate interview.
Chris Lane's father, Peter, issued a short, emotional statement about his son, a student at East Central University in Ada, Okla., from their home in Australia, nearly half a world away: "He's left his mark as we know, and you know there's not going to be any good come out of this, because it was just so senseless. It's happened. It's wrong, and we're just trying and deal with it the best we can."
D. A. Hicks noted, “This is not something that is supposed to happen here and to our friends in Australia I would say to you this is not Duncan, Oklahoma, this is not Stephens County, Oklahoma and this is not something we see happening here."
But the drive-by shooting did happen there and now a town unused to dealing with murders will have to deal with one without any semblance of apparent justification. A young man is dead because of a "bored" decision made by three other young men -- perhaps the very definition of "depraved indifference."
Senseless is just a word that seems to ineffectively describe what happened Friday in Oklahoma. And for Chris Lane's family, there will undoubtedly never be any terms accurate enough to describe such a loss.