After charges that an 8-year-old boy in Louisiana shot and killed his 87-year-old caregiver just after engaging in a game of Grand Theft Auto 4, the game’s publisher Take-Two rebuked the claim.
In a report by GameSpot, a Louisiana sheriff said Grand Theft Auto may have played a role in the killing.
“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.
The boy had been playing Grand Theft Auto 4 just moments before he shot Marie Smothers in the head, according to authorities.
“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 3 –– 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," the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Department said in a release.
The issue of violence in video games has come under debate in recent months after it was reported that Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza was reportedly obsessed with violent video game, CNN reports.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told the news organization that there could be “some direct connection” between violent video games and shootings perpetrated by unstable individuals.
“There might well be some direct connection between people who have some mental instability and when they go over the edge –– they transport themselves, they become part of one of those video games," Hickenlooper told CNN. “Perhaps that's why all these assault weapons are used.”
Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello said in a conference call a month after the Sandy Hook shootings that there wasn’t a connection between violent video games and violent act, but the industry faces a “perception issue,” CNN reports.
Studies on the issue have been murky, but President Barack Obama called for the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the relationship between video games and real world violence in January.