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Police: Boy kills caregiver after playing video game

NEED TO KNOW
  • Authorities say boy 'intentionally shot' 87-year-old Marie Smothers after playing 'Grand Theft Auto IV'
  • 8-year-old won't face charges under Louisiana law
Police: Boy kills caregiver after playing video game

An 8-year-old boy played a violent video game before intentionally shooting his 87-year-old caregiver Thursday evening in a home in Slaughter, Louisiana, according to authorities.

The boy, whose name has been withheld because of his age, told investigators that he accidentally shot Marie Smothers when he was playing with the firearm. But authorities believe that he may have "intentionally shot Mrs. Smothers in the back of the head when she was sitting in her living room watching television," according to a statement from the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's department.

Two HLN affiliates, WBRZ and WAFB, have reported that the gun belonged to Smothers.

The release also states that the boy and Smothers had a normal, loving relationship and even shared the same bedroom.

According to Louisiana law, children under the age of 10 are exempt from responsibility, so he will not be charged. He is now with his parents. The investigation is currently ongoing.

"We have a child who does not know the impact of the consequences of the act he committed," lawyer Sclynski Legier told WAFB. "He truly doesn't understand that."

The statement goes on to say, "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', a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred."

"Grand Theft Auto IV" is rated M for mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which recommends the video game is for people ages 17 and older.

Video games have often been under scrutiny in association with crimes. President Barack Obama asked that Congress fund further research on the effects of violent video games on young minds after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012.

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