An Ohio teenager is accused of killing his mother and grievously wounding his father because they refused to let him play Halo 3.
Daniel Petric was 16 at the time of the murder, which took place after his parents told him he wasn’t allowed to play Halo 3. The teenager sneaked out of the house and bought the game anyway, but was caught by his parents as he came back in with the game. They took it away from him and put it into a “lockbox” in their closet, where they also kept a 9 mm handgun.
Prosecutors allege Petric took the game and the gun out of the box; concealing the weapon, he approached his parents and said, “Would you guys close your eyes? I have a surprise for you.”
Petric’s father, Mark Petric, testified that he expected a “pleasant surprise,” but instead, his head suddenly went numb. The next thing he remembered, he said, was Daniel shoving the gun into his hand saying, “Hey Dad, here’s your gun. Take it.” Mark Petric survived thanks to the intervention of his daughter and her husband, who had come to the house to watch a baseball game, but his wife, Susan Petric, died of a gunshot wound to the head.
The elder Petric, a minister at the New Life Assembly of God, said his son has apologized for killing his mother, saying, “I’m so sorry for what I did to Mom, to you and to the family. I’m so glad you are alive,” and that he could hardly live with the guilt over what he did.
In their opening statement, Daniel Petric’s lawyers said the boy had been under a great deal of stress because of a severe staph infection caused by a bad snowboarding accident. As a result, he had been stuck at home for the past year with nothing to do but watch television and play games. Videogames haven’t been directly blamed for the shooting at this point in the proceedings, appearing to be just a catalyst for the whole awful affair, but if no other evidence about a troubled home life is forthcoming you can bet that an attempt to establish a more direct connection will be made.
Monitoring your children’s videogaming habits is commendable, but the disconnect between taking a violent videogame away from their son and then putting that game into the same box in which they kept their gun – and then not even having the sense to keep it locked – is truly mind-boggling. It’s impossible to tell at this early stage, but there’s almost certainly more to this story than just a kid who got pissed off over Halo 3. As for the shooter himself, I sincerely hope he receives a punishment commensurate with the enormity of his crime; youthful indiscretion is one thing, but making a conscious decision to execute your parents is something else entirely.