Random killing of Australian ballplayer prompts threats, boycotts

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NBC News – Anonymous threats against a local high school and calls for a travel boycott by Australians to the United States came Tuesday after three Oklahoma teens were charged in the random shooting of a college baseball player jogging down a tree-lined street.

Christopher Lane, 22, a native of Melbourne, Australia, and a rising senior at East Central University, was gunned down Friday in Duncan, Okla. Police said one of the teens charged in the case said the boys “were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.”

James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, were charged with murder. A third teenager, Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and with firing a weapon. All were charged as adults, according to the Stephens County District Attorney’s Office.

The shooting has dominated news reports in Australia and led Australian deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer to call on Australian tourists to boycott the U.S.

“It is another example of murder mayhem on Main Street,” Fischer said on CNN on Tuesday night.

“People thinking of going to the USA for business or tourists trips should think carefully about it given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita per million people,” Fishcher said.

Earlier Tuesday, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said: “The United States is deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of the death of an Australian citizen in Oklahoma. This is clearly a tragic death, and we extend our condolences to the family and the loved ones. We understand that local authorities are focused on bringing those responsible to justice. Clearly, we would support that.”

On Tuesday night, anonymous threats were made against Duncan High School, where at least two of the suspects were students.

“The credibility of the person or persons communicating the threats is very difficult to ascertain. However, we want to be proactive in taking reasonable precautions,” Dr. Sherry Labyer, the town’s Superintendent of Schools, wrote in a letter to parents, late Tuesday.

As result, she said that with help from the police, security would be beefed up in schools across the town and that students would only be allowed to leave once a parent checked them out.

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