The motive for the shooting is unknown but investigators believe the child was playing a version of the video game “Grand Theft Auto” minutes before he got a gun and fired it into the back of the woman’s head. Grand Theft Auto is a game offering realistic appeal and has been associated with encouraging violence and even awards points to players for killing people.
As Fox News notes, the game is rated “M” for mature audiences and recommended for teens and adults aged 17 and older.
The 8-year-old initially told investigators that the shooting was an accident but police say they believe the boy intentionally shot the caregiver. The boy, whose identity has not been made known, has been released into the custody of his parents. He will likely not be charged with the crime because of his age, as dictated by Louisiana law.
Dr. Michael Welner, a New York forensic psychiatrist, has spoken out against violent video games claiming they can influence behavior. According to Welner, video game developers design games to be absorbing and life-like and that killing is portrayed in a banal manner:
“My professional opinion is that video game violence is enabling the expression of violent urges in ways that cocaine and the worst of drugs never did and never could.”
Welner urges parents to stop paying for violent video games for kids and should “collect them and throw them out in the same way you would flush the drugs you find.”
The shooting was reported to the state Department of Children and Family Services. The parents have been ordered to appear in Court on Monday for a judge to determine if the boy and his parents should receive help through the Families in Need of Services assistance program.
(Sources: The Huffington Post, theadvocate.com)
- Boy, 8, shoots own grandmother dead after playing Grand Theft Auto (mirror.co.uk)
- Police: 8-year-old shoots, kills caregiver after playing video game (kmov.com)
- Boy shoots grandmother after playing violent video game: Report (sunnewsnetwork.ca)