A Teen Has Been Killed While Playing ‘Pokemon Go,’ But Was The Game To Blame?

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Apparently catching ’em all can be a dangerous hobby. Recently we’ve heard numerous stories about people injuring themselves, even walking off cliffs, while playing Pokemon Go. Now, sadly, the ultra-popular app has been tied to its first fatality.

According to British newspaper The Independent and additional reports, 18-year-old Jerson Lopez de Leon of Chiquimula, Guatemala was shot dead while playing Pokemon Go. De Leon and a cousin were walking along a railway line at night playing the popular game when a van pulled up and fired at least 20 shots at them. De Leon later died in the hospital. Per De Leon’s mother, he specifically left the house to play the game:

“I don’t know why my son left the house. He was already in bed when his cousin sent him a message asking him to go out and download a game a few blocks from the house.”

Some more alarmist outlets are reporting this story as if Pokemon Go was directly responsible for the shooting, but that’s a big leap. Police have no motive for the crime, and it seems like the victims suffered an unrelated attack while they happened to be playing the game. The Independent reports Guatemalan police have speculated the attackers may have tracked their victims using Pokemon Go, but that’s not exactly how the game works. The assailants could have staked out a PokeStop or used a lure to attract their victims, as thieves have done in America, but there’s no proof anything like that happened.

Based on the evidence we have, it seems like Pokemon Go is only tangentially related to this story, but as always, be aware of your surroundings when playing the game. Having fun doesn’t mean you’re immune to real-world dangers. 

(Via The Independent)