Grand Theft Auto sparks another lawsuit

Rockstar parent Take-Two Interactive, Sony, Wal-Mart, and GameStop are blamed for the murder of three policemen by a teenage car thief.


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Just when the furor over Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's "Kill all the Haitians!" level had finally died down, the game sparked another lawsuit. Along with its predecessor Grand Theft Auto III, the crime-action game is being blamed for inspiring the triple murder of three Fayette, Alabama, police officers.

Devin Moore, 18, is accused of the slayings, which occurred after he was arrested in 2003 for suspicion of the crime of grand theft auto. According to the Associated Press, when he was caught, Moore said, "Life is a video game. You've got to die sometime." While being booked at the station, he allegedly grabbed a police officer's pistol and then shot its owner and two other officers in the head; all three died. Moore is then said to have driven off in a stolen police car, but was later apprehended. He is currently being charged with three counts of first-degree murder, and is set to go to trial on July 11.

Two of the victims' next of kin have filed a lawsuit accusing the two GTA games as having "trained and motivated" Moore to commit his crimes. Besides Take-Two, the other defendants named in the near 60-page, $600 million suit are Wal-Mart and GameStop, where Thompson is said to have bought both M-rated games while under the ESRB-mandated 17-year-old purchase age. Sony Computer Entertainment America, makers of Moore's PlayStation 2 console, is also named in the legal filing.

"I don't want another family to go through what our family has been through the past few years. It's about saving lives," said plaintiff Steve Strickland, a brother of one of the victims. The plaintiffs' attorney is none other than Jack Thompson, the Miami-based lawyer who has waged a one-man crusade "over the past twelve years in a national effort to hold accountable the entertainment industry for the harm it does to our children," according to his Web site,

After targeting gangsta rap's violent lyrics in the early 1990s, Thompson has spent the last half-decade railing against the perils of violent video games, which he refers to as "murder simulators." While speaking to the local NBC affiliate, Thompson said "[the game] industry has targeted, with the most popular and violent game in history, every police officer in America and put a bull's eye on their back." To back up his claims, Thompson cites studies at Harvard University and the University of Indiana, which he asserts "prove that adolescents' brain functions are damaged by a steady diet of violent images."

For its part, Take-Two was conciliatory to the victims' relations, saying, "We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the officers killed." However, it gave no ground to the plaintiffs' attorney. "With regard to Mr. [Jack] Thompson, unfortunately he has a habit of doing this kind of thing often. No court has yet to take his legal claims seriously. The suggestion that there is a link between the use and sales of Grand Theft Auto and this tragic incident is utter nonsense. Anyone suggesting that such a link does exist is either misguided, misrepresenting the facts, or both."

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Avatar image for markvons

Blame everyone but the person who pulled the trigger...

Avatar image for guardiankitty10

Honestly if anything video games keep you from killing people. When you have a bad day at the post office (being your work) do you come back and kill every one or do you pop in postal 2 or gta or some game and kill on there. WAIT IM..........LOOSING CONTROLLLLLLLL!

Avatar image for vengeance00

its simply human nature. the kid went joy riding, got caught, got scare, shot the cops and escaped. no other force was pushing him, he may of already been breaking into cars and this time he was caught, did they ever think of that?

Avatar image for Omnipresence

This article made me lol

Avatar image for Kiryu179

man why do ppl think videogames make ppl kill ppl. give alittle credit to public education. lol haha

Avatar image for Cloud737

Oh my gosh, I just realised I played all GTAs until now (GTA1,GTA2,GTA III, GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas). I think I`m going to lose control over myself..!

Avatar image for iamdaman13

I played them too. I guess everyone better start running, because according to ****head Thompson I might go postal.

Avatar image for Hameyadea

the kid played GTA.... OH NO HE'S A COLD BLOODED KILLER!!! RUN 4 YOU LIFES!!!!!! lol, i have GTA III, VC and SA and i didn't shot/cut someone and for "dear" mr. thompson: stop smoking weed, you'll hallucinate and lose credibility, oops already happend never mind.

Avatar image for hart704

I have tons of M rated games. Come and arrest me too! Come on! I'm beggin' ya, Thompson! Make me famous!

Avatar image for Mystical_Lizard

It's people like these so-called "video game inspired killers", that give gamers a bad reputation...

Avatar image for Larrymon2000

The evolution of parental and filial responsibilities/roles. It is happening before our eyes. Soon, nothing will stop the complete and plausible deniability of infirmities of the caregivers and guardians. Well, they asked for it. The progenitor will only refer to the physical act of procreation, and not to the task of upbringing. Oh, whaddya know, I have a GTA:SA avatar.

Avatar image for someguy503

why is it that someone is always trying to put the blame on things that have no clear relevance to it!?! why dont they just accept the fact that maybe A. the kid is psycho. or B. bad parenting!