It appears that investigators in Portland, Oregon are not focusing on rampage shooter Erik Ayala’s fondness for violent video games.
The Portland Mercury spoke with Detective Mark Slater of Portland P.D., who commented on reports that linked linked the 24-year-old Ayala to Left 4 Dead and Resistance: Fall of Man:
[Local newspaper] The Oregonian prompted controversy on Monday, January 26, when it reported that "one of the things that bought Ayala joy" was playing violent videogames. Slater said a copy of the videogame Grand Theft Auto III was found at Ayala’s apartment, but said police were not pursuing a link between videogames and the shooting.
"There were a lot of videogames in the apartment," said Slater. "Of a wide variety of the kind you might find in any 24-year-old’s apartment."
In regard to the video game angle, GamePolitics has learned that anti-game violence activist Jack Thompson unsuccessfully attempted to involve himself in the Ayala case. Thompson forwarded GP a copy of a January 26th e-mail in which the disbarred attorney complained to Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer that detectives weren’t acting on his theory that video games prompted the rampage:
Dear Chief Sizer:
I have information that would be useful to establish further the apparent causal link between the violent video game play of alleged killer Ayala and the recent incident at the teen club.
Some detective in the Bureau with whom I spoke has been compromised by the video game industry, and he was anticipating my call.
I think your Bureau and you put public safety ahead of the pro-video game bias and gaming activities of this detective.
Please have some responsible detective contact me on this, as these incidents tied to games are popping up all over the place. Thanks.
As GamePolitics has documented over the years, Thompson characteristically makes contact with law enforcement personnel in the wake of shooting rampages to suggest that violent video games played a role.
Those contacts between Thompson and law enforcement officials have at times become contentious.
In 2007, for example, Thompson sued the Omaha Police Department for information concerning a troubled 18-year-old who opened fire at a local mall. Last year, Thompson threatened to sue the Public Safety Department of Northern Illinois University following a campus shooting spree committed by a 27-year-old man with a history of mental health problems. In both cases, the disbarred attorney sought evidence of video game play on the part of the shooters.
GP: Thanks to GP reader Cabel Sasser for the link to the Mercury story!