A 16-year-old Columbia male has been charged with murder after shooting his friend while they were playing a video game.
Columbia police department said Cisco Knightner, 17, was reportedly playing a basketball game with three of his friends when an argument started. The suspect pulled out a gun and shot Knightner in the head. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Because of his age, the shooter has not been named. TV station WLTX19 reports that he was Knightner’s lifelong friend. Police said he turned himself in and was charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He was booked at the Richland County Detention Center, though authorities have not said if they plan to charge him as an adult.
"I never thought that a friend would just do that to him," said Knightner’s 11-year-old sister, Faith Knightner-Diggs.
Another fatal shooting incident took place on the same night in Columbia, in which a teenager and a taxi driver shot each other following an argument over a fare.
"Three people lost their lives because of petty arguments that led to senseless crimes,” said Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook. "Three people lost their lives because of petty arguments that led to senseless crimes. Two of the victims and a suspect in these cases were teenagers who had direct and unlawful access to guns. Too many people are quick to settle disputes in a violent manner. We, along with our community partners are working to prevent this type of violence."
There’s concern that video games are once again being demonized and blamed for violent crimes. The latest incident comes after 28-year-old Matthew Nicholson allegedly shot and killed his mother last month after he became upset while gaming. Additionally, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin blamed "garbage" video games on the recent Florida high-school shooting.
“...they’re [video games] forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech. It’s garbage. It’s the same as pornography. They have desensitized people to the value of human life, to the dignity of women, to the dignity of human decency,” said Bevin.
The World Health Organization’s inclusion of “gaming disorder” in the draft of its International Classification of Diseases didn’t help the medium’s reputation. Despite plenty of studies showing no evidence to support links between games and violent behavior, they have been blamed on shootings reaching as far back as Columbine—families of those who lost their lives in the 1999 massacre tried to sue several game companies, but the suit was dismissed.