Report: Eight-Year-Old Boy Murders Elderly Caregiver After Playing GTA

Update: Kotaku has a decent round-up of all the coverage this story is getting on various networks including CNN, Fox, etc. As you might imagine, the anti-game pundits are eating this stuff up like candy. You can check it all out here.

Original Story: Louisiana law enforcement officials say that an 8-year-old boy "intentionally" shot and killed his elderly caregiver Thursday evening after playing "Grand Theft Auto."

According to reports from WBRZ and CNN, the shooting, took place in a mobile home park near Slaughter, LA. The woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was found with a gunshot wound to the head. The 8-year-old allegedly shot the woman while she was in the living room watching television.

East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office have ruled the shooting a "homicide," though details on that are still forthcoming.

"Although a motive for the shooting is unknown at this time, investigators have learned that the juvenile suspect was playing a video game on the Play Station III "Grand Theft Auto IV", a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred," a statement issued by the Sheriff's Office said.

Grand Theft Auto is rated "M" for mature audiences and is meant for 17-year olds and older.

The woman, who has been identified as Marie Smothers, has been described in multiple reports as the boy's "current caregiver," though her relationship to him remains unclear. The woman's age is also unclear, though several reports indicated she was between the ages of 87 and 90.

The boy, whose identity has not been made public because of his age, has reportedly been released into the custody of his parents. Some are reporting that under Louisiana law the boy will not be charged with murder because of his age.

Reports indicate that the gun belonged to the victim. The boy told authorities initially that the shooting was an accident, but law enforcement "believe" he shot Smothers intentionally.

Responding to the tragedy, Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive issued a brief statement on this story to CNN:

"Ascribing a connection to entertainment–a theory that has been disproven repeatedly by multiple independent studies–both minimizes this moment and sidesteps the real issues at hand," Take-Two said in a statement to CNN.

We will have more on this story as it develops.

Source: Huffington Post

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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Yeah, that whole 'the kid said it was an accient, but the police believe it was intentional' really jumped out at me as a little odd.  Though it could have been worse since children have been railroaded as adults in similar cases.  I guess it all depends on what the local community fears more, evil children or evil outside media.

  2. 0
    Thomas Riordan says:

    I'm sure that's part of their training these days. Well, that motive won't give us press so make up a different one. I wouldn't be surprised if they just didn't badger the kid until he said exactly what they wanted to hear. It's not that hard to get a child to lie if they believe it's going to get them out of trouble.

    "I was playing with the gun and it went off"

    "You picked it up because of Grand Theft Auto, right?"

    "Grand Theft Auto what's that? I picked it up because it was shiny and looked like a toy gun."

    "Grand Theft Auto made you do it didn't it?"

    "No, I told you it was shiny and I thought it was a toy."

    "You'll be in less trouble if Grand Theft Auto made you do it"

    "Grand Theft Auto made me do it?"

    "Ah-ha! A confession!"

    Police Officer: False Video Game Based Motive Bonus 50,000,000 points.

    I'd love to hear what witness they have to the fact that he was playing the game just moments before when from the sound of things there were only two plausible witnesses one of which lacks credibility and the other of which is dead. Even if by some chance he was playing the game just moments before there's no proof that he was even doing a violent activity. He could have been racing or enjoying the strip club. If he bashed her head in with a golf club is it Tiger Wood's fault? No. It's not even the maker of the golf club's fault. It's the idiot that allowed him to have access to the weapon's fault. So how about looking into the idiots that allowed a loaded gun to fall into the hands of a child? Oh right, adults have no responsibility these days it seems. If Junior finds the Playboys under my bed, it's Playboy's fault not mine for having them there.

  3. 0
    Cecil475 says:

    A child picked up a loaded gun and it went off and killed his grandmother. There is nothing new about this senario. My aunt has pointed a many diffrent senarios in the past year alone. I even remember, a a child my mother telling me stories about other children who have found a loaded gun and accently killing someone with it. The victim is diffrent, the story is the same. The other person is usually a friend or a family member. At the very least, this story is no diffrent. The only thing that is diffrent is that the child played a videogame. But not just any videogame, a Grand Theft Auto game. As far as I am aware, this is the first time this sort of situation that is getting blamed on a videogame. Becuase of the situation, I am very inclined to agree that this was an accidental shooting.

    Unfortunately the sherif was hot to trot to blame the videogame, therefore making a point to dismiss anything the kid had to say. The reporters, pundits, and talking heads are doing the same. I'm sure someone in the ECA is getting some sort of communique from Jack Thompson where he screams "Look! I told you so! It's happening again! I am also sure other people in political circles will no doube want to use this tragedy to further their carreers and earn brownie points and no doubt, votes.

    There are a lot that point and ask "Why did this child have access to Grand Theft Auto" instead of "Why did this child have access to a loaded and unsecure weapon.

    The sad thing is that If this child hadn't been playing Grand Theft Auto IV right before killing his grandmother, then this would have been just another tragedy. A tragedy that isn't too diffrent from all the others my aunt, or my mother has told me about at some point.

    Sadder still, had that child not had access to a unsecured, loaded gun…

    – W

  4. 0
    mthiel says:

    Do we know how the kid acquired the game? I know JT loves to argue that "minors can go into any store and purchase M-rated games", and I am pretty sure this 8-year old did not purchase the game himself, but I would like to know how he acquired the game before blaming parents/guardians for "allowing" him to play the game.

  5. 0
    HilaryDuffGta says:

    oh wow, another story like this, and yet gta is the main target, not why in the holy cheesecake was a gun anywhere near where a 8 year old could gain access to it, why it must be the video games! 


    and i have noticed they never target saints row

  6. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    I honestly have doubt that this story would have anywhere near the national press that it does without the sensationalism of video game (or entertainment) related violence added on. If this was another case of an 8 year old having shot his mother, at most, it would've been a blurb in the local news.

    I say this due to the way our national media works – and the fact that there is no name which would effectively leave no story beyond the state of Louisiana (and maybe an examination of their local laws with regards to criminal prosecution of murder – even when the accused person is eight). Let's examine the fact that most of the focus in every single article (many of which are syndications of the Associated Press' article) related to this case are highly focused on the video game Grand Theft Auto IV and barely mention gun violence at all beyond the fact that the eight year old shot his grandmother with a gun (which was not locked nor was it at least unloaded) obtained from within the home.

    There's no story there beyond a highly unfortunate incident in the light of the national news coverage, but throw in some video games and J. B. Thompson gets to smile at himself in the mirror this week.

    This whole incident is just a shame all around.

  7. 0
    GrimCW says:

    I always get a kick out of it when they say you do.

    Saints Row gives you points for it, why isn't that being targeted? :p

    Though I wonder.. Since SRIV is a virtual environment IN a virtual environment, does that count?

    Does playing a game where you play a game make people violent too?!… lol

  8. 0
    NyuRena says:

    I wonder if the police earn "point$" for ruining real people's lives with victimless crime prosecution and forfeiture laws? (There's more truth there than his bs statement, that's for sure..)

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