Louisiana law enforcement officials say an 8-year-old boy intentionally shot and killed his elderly caregiver Thursday evening after playing the video game "Grand Theft Auto."
According to WAFB-TV, the shooting, which the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office has called a homicide, took place in a mobile home park near Slaughter, La. The woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was reportedly found with a gunshot wound to the head. It is believed that the 8-year-old shot her while she was in the living room watching television.
"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," a statement issued by the Sheriff's Office said.
As Fox News notes, "Grand Theft Auto" is rated "M" for mature audiences and recommended for teens and adults aged 17 and older.
The woman, who has been identified as Marie Smothers, has been described as the "current caregiver" of the boy. It is, however, still unclear what her relationship was with the child. There is also conflicting information as to Smothers' age, with some news outlets identifying her as an 87-year-old woman and others indicating that she was 90.
The boy, whose identity has not been made known, has reportedly been released into the custody of his parents. According to the Advocate, the boy will likely not be charged with the crime because of his age, as dictated by Louisiana law.
Though the 8-year-old initially told investigators that the shooting was an accident, police say they believe the boy intentionally shot Smothers. But Law enforcement officials also said the child is believed to have had a "normal, loving, relationship" with the victim.
The gun used in the shooting is thought to have belonged to Smothers, according to the Advocate.
Experts have long debated -- and are still divided on -- the matter of whether or not violent video games, TV shows and movies trigger aggressive behavior in young people.
In April, a study published in the journal Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice claimed to show a link between violent video games and youth violence. That same month, however, an associate professor at Villanova University wrote that research had not found a "clear link between playing violent video games and real world violence."
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