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Suit: Video Game Sparked Police Shootings

Lawsuit Claims 'Grand Theft Auto' Led Teen to Kill Two Alabama Officers and Dispatcher in 2003

The Associated PressThe Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Feb 15, 2005 — A lawsuit claims the video game "Grand Theft Auto" led a teenager to shoot two police officers and a dispatcher to death in 2003, mirroring violent acts depicted in the popular game.

The suit announced Tuesday seeks damages from the game's manufacturers and two stores that allegedly sold it to Devin Thompson, now 18.

An attorney for relatives of two of the victims said Thompson, who is charged with murder, had played the video game repeatedly.

Thompson is accused of killing the three men in June 2003 after being brought to the Fayette police station on suspicion of driving a stolen car. Thompson allegedly grabbed one of the officer's guns, shot him and the other two, then fled in a patrol car.

The suit alleges Thompson purchased "Grand Theft Auto III" at the Gamestop in Jasper and "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" at the Jasper Wal-Mart when he was under 17. The games, which depict police killings and other acts of violence, are rated M, meaning they are appropriate for those 17 or older.

"What has happened in Alabama is that four companies participated in the training of Devin … to kill three men," attorney Jack Thompson told The Tuscaloosa News, which reported the suit's filing.

Named in the suit are Wal-Mart Stores and Gamestop along with Take-Two Interactive Software, the manufacturer of the games, and Sony Computer Entertainment, the maker of the PlayStation 2.

Messages left for officials of three of the companies were not immediately returned. There was no answer at the listing for Gamestop in Grapevine, Texas.

At a December hearing, authorities said Devin Thompson, when he was apprehended, told officers, "Life is a video game. You've got to die sometime."

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