Chris Lane was not murdered at random but instead as part of a cold and calculated gang initiation rite, the father of a boy targeted by the three accused killers has said.
James Johnson said the boys accused of killing the college baseball player from Australia had tried to recruit his 17-year-old son to join their gang. On Friday afternoon, the day Lane was killed, Johnson’s son Chris called to say the three boys had threatened to kill him.
Shortly afterward Johnson saw the three sitting in a black car and called police, unaware of the shooting that had just occurred. Police found the trio with a shotgun and a.22-caliber revolver, the one they say was used to kill Lane.
The boys — 15-year-old James Francis Edwards Jr, 16-year-old Chancey Allen Luna, and 17-year-old Michael Dewayne Jones — told police they killed Lane simply because they were bored and it was something to do.
But James Johnson thinks there was a much more sinister motive.
“I don’t think it was an initiation – I know it was an initiation, my son told me it was an initiation,” Johnson told Fairfax Media.
Johnson said he has known the three boys their whole lives, and characterizes them as good boys who lacked guidance. None of them had “proper fathers,” Johnson said.
Still, he counts himself lucky that the boys hadn’t come across him or his son Chris during their initiation.
“I feel very sorry for them, they have ruined their whole lives, but they did the crime, they have to do the time. Perhaps they can make a life inside, get God in their lives,” he said.
In the days after the shooting Chris Lane has been remembered both in the United States and his native Australia, and a memorial fund established in his name has already raised close to $90,000.