The three boys charged with the drive-by shooting of Australian Chris Lane have no known gang links but it is possible they were “wannabe gangsters”, the police chief heading the murder investigation in Oklahoma said.
“It’s the idea that, ‘I’m a gangster, you need to respect me, you need to give me attention, you need to be afraid of me’,” Duncan Police chief Danny Ford told the Duncan Banner newspaper.
“The problem is when you market yourself, someone eventually begins to say, ‘Well, OK, if you’re really going to market yourself that way then demonstrate to us’, and they feel like if it got to that situation they had to demonstrate to maintain the status they were trying to get”.
James Edwards, 15 and Chancey Luna, 16, have been charged with the first-degree murder of Mr Lane.
Michael Jones, 17, was charged with being an accessory to murder.
Mr Lane was jogging along a Duncan road last Friday when police allege Luna fired a .22 calibre revolver into Mr Lane’s back in a random attack.
Jones allegedly drove the black Ford Focus while Edwards was a passenger and after firing the bullet the trio left Mr Lane to die on the side of a road, authorities allege.
Chief Ford said one of the boys had confessed Mr Lane, 22, was shot for “the fun of it” and because they were “bored”.
Some locals have blamed the murder on gangs which have infiltrated Duncan, a town that has had just one other murder in the past five years. But the chief said he had no knowledge of gang activity in the city.
Grieving residents will hold a service on Friday evening at a Duncan school to honour Mr Lane.
“The idea came about after visiting with people in the community on Monday and feeling an overwhelming burden that our community is hurting,” Duncan First Baptist Church pastor Bryan Pain said.
More than half of the 3763 students at Duncan’s public schools stayed away from classes on Wednesday after local police received “anonymous threats” involving Duncan High School while an online memorial fund set up by one of Mr Lane’s US baseball team-mates has raised a staggering $US154,000 ($A171,807.89) in just three days.
It was hoped the fund would raise $US15,000 to help pay for funeral expenses and take Mr Lane’s body back to Melbourne.
But the outpouring of support from people around the world will allow Mr Lane’s parents to set up a foundation to make donations to organisations Mr Lane was passionate about.
The fund is at: www.gofundme.com/3zktjc