About 2,000 people, including former teammates, opponents, their families and the parents and girlfriend of slain Australian baseball player Chris Lane, gathered at home plate in a ballpark in suburban Melbourne to share a moment of silence on Sunday. Lane, a 22-year-old student at East Central University, was shot and killed last week when he was jogging in an affluent neighborhood in Oklahoman. Three teenagers have been charged with his murder.
“We really appreciate the support from both here and in the States,” said Lane’s father, Peter. “We’ve had sensational support for our kids from family, extended family, from various communities we’ve been involved with and we’re thankful for that.” A fund set up to help his parents has already collected more than $150,000.
Peter said he’d like to see the money used to help other young Australians pursue their athletic dreams at U.S. universities.
“I would love something set up that helped kids follow the same path,” he said. “As tragic as Chris’s end was, he was on a very good life path. He made very good choices and decisions about his future. So that’s really pie in the sky stuff, but I’d like to see other kids with the same opportunities Chris had. Maybe if we could make that easier, that’s something we could do.”
Chris’ girlfriend, Sarah Harper, arrived in Melbourne with his body on Saturday. Peter said it was good for her and her family to be in Australia, CBS Local reported.
“It’s important for (Sarah) to be here now because we will hang together and we will hang tough. But she’s an outstanding kid,” he said. “She was doing all the hard yards (in the United States). And for her to be here, it’s a chance for her to relax and be comfortable with some people, and she’s got some hard things ahead of her when she goes home.”
Australia’s former deputy prime minister, Tim Fischer, blamed Chris’ death on gun culture in the U.S., a topic that Peter was reticent to discuss.
“I’ve said at the start we’re not buying into gun control, punishment, race issues. Our kid died in horrible circumstances and that’s not going to be solved by me sitting here making statements about the American political system or anything like that,” Peter said. “He met fantastic people in Duncan who as far as I’m concerned are representative of people in the U.S.”