It was a big adventure Christopher Lane was on, moving from Australia to the United States to play baseball. Lane liked adventure.
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“He loved meeting new people and doing new things,” Marshall Veal, who played baseball with Lane for two years at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla., told FOXSports.com by phone on Thursday.
Laney — that’s what his teammates called him — was killed last week in Duncan, Okla., allegedly by some teenagers, one of whom told police they did it out of boredom. They saw him jogging by, and reportedly ran him down and shot him in the back.
James Edwards, Jr.,15, and Chancey Luna, 16, have been charged as adults with felony murder. Michael Jones, 17, is charged with the use of a vehicle to discharge a weapon and accessory to the fact of murder in the first degree.
Lane’s family is not wealthy, so some members of the baseball program wanted to raise money to help Lane’s family cover all their funeral and travel expenses. So Veal started a campaign on GoFundMe.com.
The goal was $15,000. As of Friday afternoon, Veal had raised over $151,000 for Lane’s family.
Veal described Laney as naturally likable and intelligent, a guy who knew he wasn’t going to make his living in baseball but was using it to get an education.
Lane assimilated well to American culture. Marshall never perceived his friend as being homesick or uncomfortable. The Aussie accent gave Lane a certain magnetism too.
“The accent drew me in,” Veal said. “I had never heard anything like that in Oklahoma. I thought it was awesome.”
Veal noticed other people were drawn to Lane, too.
“He could meet anybody and become friends with anybody,” Veal said. “Making friends was very easy for Laney. He was such a genuine, nice person that to not like Laney, you’d have to force yourself to not like him. It never happened.”
Veal, who is from Union City, Okla., says he can’t remember the last time he heard about a murder where he comes from. That’s big-city stuff. Not Duncan stuff.
“Where we all were, I couldn’t tell you the last time something like this happened,” he said. “Especially the way this happened. It shouldn’t have happened anywhere in the world.”
To contribute to the Christopher Lane fund, click here.