Police report that a young boy in Slaughter, Louisiana, intentionally shot and killed an elderly caregiver after playing the violent video game “Grand Theft Auto IV.”
Marie Smothers, age 87, was pronounced dead after she was found in her mobile home park with a gunshot wound to the back of her head. CNN affiliate WBRZ reports that Marie was the 8-year-old boy’s grandmother.
Trailer park owner Gerald Methvin told WBRZ, “It's a shock to me just as much as anyone else because everything has been so peaceful, Mrs. Smothers was a fine tenant, never give [sic] us no trouble..."
The juvenile initially told deputies with the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Department that he was playing with the gun when it accidentally went off, but authorities now believe that the shooting was intentional. According to the boy’s father, the gun belonged to Smothers.
“By accounts of relatives of the victim, as well as friends of the family, the victim and the juvenile had a normal, loving, relationship and even shared the same bedroom,” The deputies report. Searching for a possible motive for the shooting, a statement from the Sheriff's office cited the violent video game Grand Theft Auto, “...a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred."
The makers of Grand Theft Auto, Take Two Interactive, vigorously deny the deputies’ claim, releasing a statement of their own that says, "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.”
It’s unknown how the youth got his hands on his grandmother’s gun. The boy is now with his parents and will not be charged. Under Louisiana law, children under 10 do not face criminal responsibility for their actions.