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Eight-year-old shot elderly woman after playing video game: police

By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - An 8-year-old boy from rural Louisiana shot and killed his elderly caregiver just minutes after he finished playing a violent video game, police have said.

The child was released to his parents and has not been charged in the shooting on Thursday evening about 100 miles northwest of New Orleans in Slaughter, Louisiana, the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Department said.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting of Marie Smothers remain under investigation, the sheriff's department said in a statement. They boy's name was not released.

The boy initially told investigators he accidentally shot Smothers while playing with a firearm, but an investigation led police to believe he intentionally shot her in the back of the head as she sat in her living room, the department said.

Police said a motive for the shooting was not known, but investigators learned the boy was playing the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV" minutes before the shooting.

The game as "a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people," police said.

Take-Two Interactive, whose Rockstar Games studio develops the Grand Theft Auto games, said in a statement on Monday that it was shocked by the shooting saying the event "further emphasizes the urgent need for America to address the availability of dangerous weapons to people who obviously shouldn't have access to them," the statement said.

"Ascribing a connection to entertainment - a theory that has been disproven repeatedly by multiple independent studies - both minimizes this moment and sidesteps the real issues at hand," the company said.

(Additional reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by David Bailey and L Gevirtz)

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