An eight-year-old boy intentionally shot and killed his grandmother minutes after playing the violent video game Grand Theft Auto IV, US authorities said.
The town of Slaughter, Louisiana, is in shock after the child was able to access the family’s gun and shoot the 90-year-old in the head while she was watching television.
The woman, who was helping to look after the boy, was pronounced dead at the scene at the Country Breeze Mobile Home Park.
Sheriff’s deputies have not revealed a motive but they pointed out the child was playing the video game before the fatal shooting.
The game, which is rated “M” for mature audiences and is recommended for ages 17 and above, has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people.
The child told investigators that he accidentally shot the woman while playing with a firearm, WAFB-TV reported.
But evidence has led investigators to believe the child intentionally shot her in the back of the head as she watched TV, it added.
Neighbour Johnnie Scott said: “Where did she have the gun? Where did he see the gun, was it in his eyesight? That’s the thought that goes through my head.”
Child psychologist Kristopher Kaliebe said access to a violent video game such as Grand Theft Auto IV may encourage aggressive behaviour.
He said: “From a behaviour therapy perspective, I would say that’s practising.
“So if you have a video game where someone shoots at a target, that’s sort of practising shooting at a target.
“When you have a video game that is shooting at a human being, that is practising shooting at a human being.”
The child is being looked after by his parents. The authorities are treating the shooting as a “homicide”.
The boy cannot be charged with a crime because of his age, the sheriff’s office said.
Louisiana law states: “Those who have not reached the age of 10 years are exempt from criminal responsibility.”