A woman who called 911 after an Oklahoma baseball player was shot dead jogging down the street told the dispatcher that he fell into a ditch, had blood on his back, turned blue and then stopped breathing.
In a chilling seven-minute recording released Wednesday by prosecutors, the 911 caller, who identifies herself as Joyce Smith, resists panic while pleading for help. She reports to the dispatcher that she does not know the gunshot victim.
“He was standing in the roadway and he fell over, and as I come by, he just fell over in the ditch,” the woman says.
Later she reports: “He’s turning blue.”
The ballplayer, Christopher Lane, was a native of Australia but was a catcher for an Oklahoma college baseball team. He was gunned down Friday in the town of Duncan in an apparently random shooting.
One of three teens charged in the attack told police that they shot Lane because they “were bored” and decided to kill somebody.
Stephens County Sheriff's Office
From left, James Francis Edwards, 15, Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 17.
The teens were charged Tuesday: James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, were charged with first-degree murder. 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.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, anonymous threats against a local high school where two of the suspects where students led the school to step up security.
“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.
As result, she said that with help from the police, security would be beefed up in schools across town and that students would only be allowed to leave once a parent checked them out. They would also not be allowed to have lunch off campus, as they normally are.
The shooting has dominated news reports in Australia and led former Australian deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer to call on Australian tourists to boycott the United States.
“It is another example of murder mayhem on Main Street,” Fischer told 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.
The State Department said the U.S. was deeply saddened “to hear the tragic news of the death of an Australian citizen in Oklahoma.”
AP Photo / Essendon Baseball Club
Christopher Lane, an Australian baseball player, was shot and killed while out for a jog in an Oklahoma neighborhood, police say.
“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,” said a State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf.
If convicted of first-degree murder, the suspects could face life in prison.
The teens were reportedly turned in by their next potential target, Australian newspaper the Herald Sun reported.
James Johnson, 52, told the newspaper that he called the police to tell them that the accused killers were hiding in the parking lot of the Immauel Baptist Church, two hours after they allegedly shot Lane.
“My son called me and said, ‘They’re saying they’re coming to kill me.’ So I called the police, and they got here within about three minutes,” Johnson told the paper.
Johnson claimed that Edwards Jr. previously had threatened the life of Johnson’s son on Facebook.
Friends of Lane set up a gofundme.com project to help cover expenses for his family.
“Please help us raise money to cover all expenses for Chris’s family to be able to fly to Oklahoma to receive his body and take him back to Melbourne, Australia,” they said on the site. “Every cent is greatly appreciated and all donations will go right to his family! I recently spoke to Chris’s father and he told me that if there is any money left over they will start a Christopher Lane Foundation.”
Sue Ogrocki / AP
Twenty-three year old Aaron Boyer, who lives nearby, sits by the memorial for slain Australian Christopher Lane.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published August 21 2013, 2:14 PM