An 8-year-old killed his grandmother with her own gun. Marie Smothers, age 87, was shot and killed on Friday afternoon in Slaughter, Louisiana. Police say the shooting was intentional. They blame the shooting on Grand Theft Auto IV.
The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Department issued a statement about the incident. They explain that the boy was in Smothers’ care at the time of the shooting.
As reported by CNN, Marie Smothers was in her living room watching television. The boy approached her chair and “intentionally shot [her] in the back of the head.” Authorities state that the boy initially said it was an accident.
Upon further questioning, the 8-year-old admitted that he killed her on purpose.
Attorney Sclynski Legier explains that the boy cannot possibly understand the impact of what he did:
“We have a child who does not know the impact of the consequences of the act he committed… He truly doesn’t understand that.”
Authorities will not be charging the boy in his grandmother’s death. However, they have made it clear that they believe a video game contributed to the tragedy:
“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.'”
Police describe the game as “associated with encouraging violence.” They explain that the 8-year-old killed his grandmother moments after walking away from the game.
As reported by WBRZ, the Grand Theft Auto series of games is rated “M.” They are meant for mature audiences over the age of 17. They are not recommended for children.
Take Two Interactive, the game’s maker, denies any connection between the game and the shooting:
“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.”
Violent video games are an ongoing controversy. Games like Grand Theft Auto are often discussed when a shooting tragedy occurs. However, the evidence linking violent games and violent behavior is slim.
Senseless tragedy always leads to questions of why. In many cases there may not be one conclusive answer.
The 8-year-old who killed his grandmother will not be held criminally liable. He is now in the custody of his parents.
[Image via deviantArt]