A Colorado police officer has suggested that a troubled 22-year old man who went on a random shooting spree last October may have been influenced by violent video games.
The Denver Post reports that the police investigator made the comment in regard to Stefan Martin-Urban (left), who killed two people and wounded two others before turning his gun on himself:
When Stefan Martin-Urban… pulled a pistol from behind his back and methodically shot strangers, his behavior was eerily similar to characters in the video games he played obsessively.
Those games, authorities said Friday… are the closest police and FBI investigators can come to an explanation for Martin-Urban’s actions that killed two and injured two.
"It could be that he was simply acting out a part in a video game. Maybe he had interjected himself into a game in his mind," Grand Junction police Sgt. Tony Clayton said.
Like the thugs in "Grand Theft Auto" and warlocks in "World of Warcraft," Martin-Urban showed no emotion…
Sgt. Clayton’s remarks notwithstanding, there are indications that the killer was, like so many other random shooters, a mentally disturbed person who gained access to a gun. From the story:
He had no criminal record and had not exhibited any psychotic behavior. But unbeknown to anyone who might have been alarmed, Martin-Urban had purchased a 9mm semiautomatic Ruger…
The only other clue that something wasn’t right was his computer log: He spent an inordinate amount of time playing games where the object is to kill and steal.
He played the games as many as 12 hours a day during the last few months of his life. He holed up in a hotel room in Europe during a family vacation last summer and played the games while his mother and sister went sightseeing.
"In the last year, he had no friends. No boyfriend. No girlfriend. No pets. He was consumed with the video games. He spent an enormous amount of time playing them," Clayton said…
Martin-Urban lived mostly in isolation… after enrolling in a state college… He stopped going to classes within two weeks.
His father had committed suicide in Alaska four days before the previous Christmas…
He had a profile on YouTube where he wrote that he lived in a world "that some people choose to call ‘reality.’ " His favorite videos included a prophecy that a 2,000- mile-long spaceship containing cosmic beings was going to appear in the Earth’s atmosphere three days after the shooting.
In regard to the YouTube video, a local TV station speculated that Martin-Urban may have been part of a cult which predicted that the world would end within days of his rampage.
The Denver Post report also notes that Martin-Urban was a Grand Theft Auto player and even theorizes a link between his GTA play and the fact that most of his victims were getting into a BMW at the time of the shooting:
One of the fanciful cars in the game — the silver Blista — has taillights that resemble a BMW’s.
The Rocky Mountain News reported last October that Martin-Urban’s aunt worried that he may have been suicidal.
GP: Martin-Urban’s self-imposed isolation, his retreat into obsessive gaming, his dropping out of school, the trauma of his father’s suicide, and his apparent fascination with the bizarre cult video would seem to be red flags that Martin-Urban was a deeply troubled young man.