Obama prays for slain ballplayer's family, cites 'extra measure of evil' in killing

Three teens have been charged in connection with the killing of Christopher Lane, an Australian baseball player who was shot and killed while jogging in Duncan, Okla. Essendon Baseball Club via AP

MELBOURNE, Australia - President Barack Obama has sent condolences to the family of a college baseball player who was shot dead while out jogging in Oklahoma.

In a statement given to a newspaper in Christopher Lane's home country of Australia, the president said his “thoughts and prayers” were with Lane’s family and friends.


Lane, 22, who attended East Central University in Ada, Okla., was fatally shot in the back while jogging in nearby Duncan, where he was visiting his girlfriend.

Three teens have been charged in connection with the killing, which fueled outrage on two continents and led to a call for a boycott on U.S. tourism by a former Australian deputy prime minister.

Investigators have said one of the teens admitted Lane was shot because the boys were "bored" and wanted to kill someone.

Obama’s statement, which appeared in The Herald Sun newspaper and was attributed to White House spokesman Mett Lehrich, said: “As the president has expressed on too many tragic occasions, there is an extra measure of evil in an act of violence that cuts a young life short. The president and first lady's thoughts and prayers are with Chris Lane's family and friends in these trying times.”


It followed an earlier tribute from U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich honoring the “strength and bravery of Chris’ family as they deal with this unspeakable tragedy.”

At a memorial baseball game Sunday, players from the Essendon Bombers, Lane’s former team, as well as Melbourne University, wore black armbands as family and friends shared a moment of silence.

Lane's parents, Peter and Donna Lane, and his American girlfriend Sarah Harper stood at home plate. Harper had arrived in Australia with Lane’s body on Saturday.

"We really appreciate the support from both her and in the states," Peter Lane told The Associated Press. "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."

Alastair Jamieson reported from London. The Associated Press contributed to this report.