- Christopher Lane gunned down in Duncan, Oklahoma, while he was out jogging last week
- Three teenagers have been charged as adults in the killing of Lane who was Australian
- "Chris exemplified what a student-athlete is all about," says school president
The reaction to the death of 23-year-old baseball player Christopher Lane has been swift and far-reaching, stretching from America's heartland to his home in Australia.
Lane was gunned down in Duncan, Oklahoma, while he was out jogging last week. Three teenagers have been charged as adults in his killing.
In Ada, Oklahoma, Lane was remembered as a popular athlete, well-liked by classmates and considered a model student by professors.
"Chris exemplified what a student-athlete is all about," said East Central University President John R. Hargrave in a statement Wednesday. "We will miss Chris, not only for his presence, but the impact he has made on fellow students and athletes."
People who never met him have turned to social media and the Internet to share their feelings of the tragedy. The emotions range from shock and sadness to rage and disbelief.
That range of emotion is palpable on a website created to raise money for Christopher's family to fly to the United States and take his body back to Australia. The goal of the "Christopher Lane Fund" was to collect $15,000. The total now exceeds $60,000.
Some of the donations are accompanied by statements shared on the site.
"As a citizen of the United States, I am saddened, embarrassed, and appalled by the unconscionable act that took Christopher's life," wrote one contributor, Judy Harless. "I pray for your family, and Christopher, in the hopes that you may find peace after this tragedy. I also pray for our leaders that they find the strength and morality to implement gun laws that prevent such senseless acts and, lastly, for our youth who do not value life, are devoid of compassion, and have no humanity."
Another contributor, Richard Kimpel, put the blame for the "senseless tragedy" on "a society that allows so many young boys to grow up without being taught respect for life. I am so so sorry for your loss. Please find some comfort in knowing that he is in good company with the Lord now."
People have also turned to Twitter to express their feelings, including Los Angeles Dodgers player Peter Moylan. An Australian, Moylan tweeted: "Tonight I continued my dream of playing pro baseball, a dream that was stolen from Chris Lane by 3 cowards."
Lane loved the game of baseball, but he was planning on earning a degree in finance and starting a real estate business with his family.
"Chris was talented enough to play baseball, but he used that as a pathway to a collegiate education," said ECU Director of Athletics Jeff Williams on Wednesday.
Sam Malchar, who was Christopher's teammate at the university, remembered his charm.
"The first thing that you would notice about Chris was his strong Australian accent, which would just draw people toward him, especially in Oklahoma where most people have never heard it other than in the movies," he said in a statement. "But there were a lot more reasons to talk to him than just an accent. You wanted to talk to him because he was the kind of guy who you could tell anything, one of those people you just loved to be around. He was a very witty and lighthearted guy, always able to lighten up the mood.
"Not a lot of people would move halfway around the world to get an education and build a better life, but he did. Chris was a charming guy, a genuinely good person, with great character and had a love for life," he said. "Chris was the kind of guy you want your sons to grow up to be and that you want your daughters to marry. It just breaks my heart knowing how much more he could have brought to this world as a husband, father, son, brother and friend."