8-Year-Old Boy Watches Violent Video Game & Kills Elderly Relative (VIDEO)

Horrifying 57

An 8-year-old boy reportedly killed his 90-year-old relative, who was taking care of him in her Louisiana home. The boy had apparently been watching the violent video game Grand Theft Auto, and then picked up a gun and shot his caregiver, Marie Smothers, in the back of the head as she watched television. The boy, because of his age, is not being charged. This is a tragedy -- but it also sounds like a recipe for disaster. At that age, kids will mimic what they see. How many times have you seen a kid want to do what they see on TV, or in movies, or in a book. Combine a violent videogame with a gun, and who knows what will happen. In this case, a killing happened.

Police believe that the child did it intentionally. I have no doubt he did not understand the gravity of his actions. At eight, a kid doesn't understand death, the permanence of it. He was probably just reenacting what he saw on the video.

Perhaps video games don't cause violence. But if you put enough stuff into a kid's head, that's the actions that come out. Tell a kid he's stupid enough times, he thinks he's stupid. Tell him he can fly, and he'll probably start flapping his arms and trying to "fly" around the room. Why would a videogame be any different?

Obviously, a loaded gun and a child who can access it are not a safe combination. I feel for the child, who will one day understand what he did. Who will one day be able to grasp that he killed someone he cared about. Reportedly, the child will be given counseling.

The boy apparently came from a "stable" family and was living with his relative to enroll in a school nearby. Said a detective:

From 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.

Say what you will about video games, but the police have no doubt it played a role in the homicide. Said the detective:

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.

It's unclear if the boy's parents knew that the relative had a gun in her home, or where she kept it. But he is now in the custody of his parents.

Yet another gun killing involving a child. I don't know when people will learn that guns and kids don't mix. Add in a violent video game and tragedy isn't far away.

Do you think the videogame had anything to do with what happened?

WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports


Image via WAFB

death, guns, in the news

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nonmember avatar Chris

There is no question that children emulate what they watch. Put ninjas on tv and my nephews start immediately practicing their fight moves and leaping off the couches. Start playing a musical and my 6 year old daughter puts on her recital costume and begins to dance. Someone failed this child. He should have not been playing a video game meant for a MATURE audience.

RiotP... RiotPixie

He shouldn't have been playing violent games, but the caregiver should have had the gun in a locked safe or some other safe place where the child wouldn't have access.

worms... wormspoop

Sounds like this has more to do with lack of communication, common sense and education. I play Call of Duty and other adult video games with my 5 year old. I also own a hand gun and have shown him proper gun safety. I talk to my son about everything, I don't shield him from reality and he knows that video games aren't real. However he has a ba\etter understanding of death then most kids because his father has been dead for 2 years now.

Rando... Randomlady

Yeah not sure why the gun was around, and why it was loaded even. That is the most mind numbing part of the story. Also, 8 year olds can understand death, especially if they've had a pet die. Anyways GTA is rated M for 18+. He couldn't have even bought the game, why was he playing it? He definitely should get juvie instead of nothing.

mommy... mommyajay

8 years old is. Old enough to understand the concept of killing someone. Yikes. Kid is psycho and needs to be locked up

nonmember avatar Kate B.

My daughter just turned 8 last week, and she DEFINITELY understands wrong and right, life and death. I am not saying the child should be locked up for the rest of his life or anything, but there is something wrong with him. He should be evaluated and punished as it would fit for his issues. Letting him go without punishment will teach him he can do terrible things with no repercussions. As for the video games... they may or may not be a factor. My daughter watches my husband play violent games sometimes, but we monitor her television, I feel that with the right parental guidance and communication, media will have have a large effect on a child's actions.

Vanessa Poholek Fasanella

So many problems here: 90-year-old caregiver, loaded gun that was easily accessible, and 8-year-old boy with no sense of reality. I don't doubt he might know right from wrong; but he probably is not able to tell real from fantasy, depending on how long he's been playing the game. It also means that he was a lone a lot, as engaged children get checked and balanced by their friends.

lmh84 lmh84

My (almost) 7 year old totally understands the meaning of death. That kid is going to be messed up for the rest of his life. No amount of counseling will make him forget what he did.

Vinta... VintageWife

Why was he allowed to play that game? Why did she have a loaded gun out? If he was in her care to attend a school, I'm assuming it was because it was in a better area so why would a gun need to be out? An 8 yr old DOES understand death is forever. I don't understand why people say they don't. Maybe not back in the day, but in these modern days where you hear about shootings, accidents, murders and school shoot-outs, they most certainly do know about death at 8.

Richard Wolf

Do you think the gun had anything to do with the tragedy?????!!!

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