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Did video games lead to a 9-year-old boy shooting father?

By Chris Arnold

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    TOOELE, Utah (KSTU) — Despite new details on what led to the arrest of a 9-year-old Tooele boy following the shooting death of his father, questions still remain about the incident and what, if anything, can be learned from what sparked it.

A search warrant said the victim and his son went to bed early in a room they shared “due to behavioral problems.” It also mentioned comments from others who lived in the home that claimed the boy spent a lot of time playing video games, including one that incorporates the same gun and hatchet found and used in the assault.

“The age is extraordinarily concerning,” licensed psychologist Dr. Douglas Goldsmith told FOX 13 News. “Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in younger children getting a hold of weapons.”

Goldsmith said psychologists have been worried for a long time about the level of aggressive behavior fostered in video games.

“I would be worried about what he’s been exposed through, like you’re talking about to video games or through social media,” added Pam Vickrey, Executive Director of Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys.

Vickrey shared her thoughts on how the legal process could play out following the boy’s arrest.

“The young person’s defense counsel would file a petition for competency and then they would appoint an evaluator to look at that and decide whether or not they were competent, and if they aren’t competent at some point in the future, would they become competent?,” she said.

Utah Statute does not allow someone as young as the child to be tried as an adult, and the state has never allowed for the transfer of someone under the age of 14 to the adult system.

According to the search warrant, detectives are now searching devices the boy may have used, saying there may be content and information on them that will shed light on how and/or why these specific methods and weapons were used in this homicide.

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