East Feliciana Parish, La., sheriff deputies believe that an 8-year-old boy intentionally shot his 90-year-old grandmother, Marie Smothers, in the back of the head after playing the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV), according to WBRZ.
The video game, which sports a mature audiences rating, meaning that it should only be played by gamers who are 17 years of age or older, has been referred to by clinicians as a tool that enables the expression of violent urges because it awards points to players for killing people.
According to authorities, the unnamed boy was playing the video game shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday at his grandmother’s mobile home in the town of Slaughter, which is about 20 miles from Baton Rouge. The child reportedly told investigators that he found the gun, which belonged to Smothers, and it accidentally discharged while he was playing with it.
But deputies believe otherwise.
In fact, a sheriff’s department statement says the boy “intentionally shot Mrs. Smothers in the back of the head as she sat in her living room watching television.”
Watch news coverage of this tragic incident here:
Whether the boy shot his grandmother on purpose or not, under Louisiana law, a child under 10 years of age is exempt from criminal responsibility, so he cannot be charged with the crime.
Neighbors told investigators that the child and his grandmother, who according to them was his caregiver, had a warm and loving relationship. The pair even reportedly shared the same bedroom.
In the meantime, the boy is now back with his parents but the question remains, did GTA IV impact the boy’s psyche in such a way that he felt compelled to pull the trigger on his own grandmother?
There has been endless controversy swirling around how violent videos games can negatively influence players, particularly children and teens. Governed by depravity, 360 degrees of murder, and violent chaos, video games, such as GTA IV, have a number of experts arguing that the still-underdeveloped brain of a young person can be easily influenced.
For example, in 2011, 16-year-old Kendall Anderson (pictured below) killed his mother with a hammer, after she took away his PlayStation 2 as a form of punishment.
That proved fatal.
Following a 90-minute argument the day after Thanksgiving, police allege, Kendall went into his sleeping mother’s bedroom, hit her 20 times with a claw hammer and ultimately killed her.
In an attempt to dispose of the body, Anderson reportedly tried to burn his mother’s body in an oven in order to cremate her.
Watch news coverage of this unfortunate incident here:
Last year, Anderson pleaded guilty to the murder and ultimately was sentenced to 50 years in prison, with at least 25 years being the minimum time that must be served.
The Smother’s case is still under investigation.