OKLAHOMA CITY —
The random slaying of an Australia native who came to the U.S. to play baseball and earn a college degree has touched hearts in the U.S. and beyond, as tens of thousands of dollars streamed into a fund designed to help Chris Lane’s parents bring their son back home.
Lane, a 22-year-old student at East Central University, was shot in the back and killed last week as he was jogging in an affluent neighborhood in Duncan, in south-central Oklahoma. By Thursday afternoon, a fund set up to help his parents had already amassed more than $107,000, overwhelming the friend who started it.
East Central also set up a separate memorial fund to honor Lane; and a private memorial service was being planned for Saturday at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, where Lane’s girlfriend is a student.
“He’s someone you wanted to go out with on a Friday night and you want to be the godfather of your son one day, he’s one of those kind of guys,” said Brock Werdel, a former teammate of Lane’s who is helping organize the service.
Werdel, who played baseball with Lane at Redlands Community College in El Reno, said he anticipates a few hundred people will attend Saturday’s service. Those who knew Lane will be asked to jot down fond memories to share with his family in Australia.
“Chris had two lives. He had a relationship and life over here but he also had a life in Australia, so we wanted to do our best to give his parents an insight of what his life is like over here,” Werdel said.
Lane gave up a potentially lucrative Australian football career to play baseball in the U.S. while earning a college degree. He first attended Redlands, then transferred to East Central University in Ada, where he started in 14 games as catcher last year.