Witness says teen shooting in Tacoma possibly inspired by video game

VIDEO: Witness says teen shooting in Tacoma possibly inspired by video game

TACOMA, Wash. — A 17-year-old in Tacoma is fighting for his life after he was shot multiple times on Thursday.

Tacoma police said the shooting happened near S. 27th Street and Yakima Avenue.

Joseph Gehrig, 23, said he saw the incident outside his apartment.

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“I was watching everything unfold. I was basically standing outside the whole time,” Gehrig said.

He and another neighbor said the suspects are brothers, ages 13 and 16, but Tacoma police have not confirmed that information.

Gehrig said he saw one brother fire a gun into the air in the ally behind the apartment, and then saw the suspect trying to run away.

Gehrig pointed to the shattered doors of the apartment complex office.

“The person who was running from the shooter was trying to get inside, to get in there and hide, but it didn’t work,” Gehrig said. “You can see it’s bulletproof glass,” he said.

The witness said he then saw the two brothers pull up in a car.

“They pulled up the car, forced (the victim) in the car, forced him to drive, and once he started driving, that’s when four more times he got shot up there. That’s when they (the suspects) ran,” Gehrig said.

The car only made it around the corner from the apartment.

Cellphone video from the scene showed paramedics doing chest compressions on the victim for several minutes.

Another clip shows someone being taken into custody from the scene.

As of Friday night, family members told KIRO7, the victim is still in critical condition and not conscious. They said he was shot in the neck.

Gehrig said he knows the suspects and frequently plays the video game, Grand Theft Auto with the two brothers.

The game has no shortage of first-person shooter action. Gehrig said it inspires a lot of trash talk.

“Sometimes there were fights saying, ‘I’m going to kill you. I’ll kill you,’” he said. “The more we started playing together, the worse it got,” Gehrig said.

“You know kids will say things and you don’t think it’ll happen, but it got worse to the point where it actually did happen this time,” he said.

Now he wonders if the game might have influenced the shooting Thursday night.

“Look, kids are learning violence from the game. GTA has shooting, drive-by, sniping, drugs, meth, sex trafficking—all that kind of stuff,” Gehrig said.

“A teenager’s mind—they want to go out and try it in their life because they think it’s cool,” he said.

Tacoma Police were tight-lipped about the investigation on Friday. This article will be updated when more information is released.