Did a violent video game cause Winter Haven man to kill students?

11:44 PM, Apr 26, 2012   |    comments
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Winter Haven, Florida - Police describe an accused local gunman in three words:  cold-blooded killer.

Davis made his first appearance in court today on Murder, Attempted Murder and Child Abuse charges.

He became emotional only when the judge brought up his little girl.

Investigatos say that Joshua Davis was so heartless that not only did the 32-year-old execute two of his own friends and wound another, he did it all while his six-year-old little girl hid under a table nearby.

"He says he fears for his life," said Winter Haven Police Chief Gary Hester.  "Well, we are hoping for the lethal injection for him. We are seeking justice."

So, what caused this young man to snap?

The chief told reporters Wednesday that Davis was addicted to the video game, Battlefield 3 and played out violent scenarios non-stop.

Chief Hester said, "[Davis] told the detectives freely and talked very freely about playing that game on a daily basis and had some real enjoyment playing Battlefield 3."

Battlefield 3 is extremely realistic and intense, almost as if you're watching a movie.  The graphics are sharp, crisp and clear.  It is played from a point of view perspective.

It's a single-shooter game where the player goes on a war-like mission to kill people.

By his own admission, Davis described how he came out of the bedroom, almost as if he was acting out the game.

The chief added, "He proceeded down the hallway as he described it in a tactical or crouched position, as he advanced from the hallway, he began firing shots from the 9mm."

It happened inside a Winter Haven apartment, overlooking Lake Howard.  The setting is peaceful and quiet, in sharp contrast to the shooting rampage that took place that fateful night.

Drops of blood remain on the outside steps after three Polk State students were shot Tuesday night.  The trio had been friends for life.

Christian Rodriguez and Joe Palacios died side by side in the apartment after they were shot. 

Their other friend, Estaban Zalvala, was able to get out after police say Davis ran out of ammo.  A police officer found Zavala collapsed in the road.

10 News tried to speak with the girlfriend of Joshua Davis, who happens to be the mother of his little girl.   The girlfriend told us, "No comment."

Why would Davis allegedly do this? Was he acting out a mission from his video game addiction?

Longtime local psychiatrist Dr. Walter Afield has treated more than 20 thousand patients in his career. He weiged in on the situation.   

"It makes life and death mean nothing, just a spot on a video screen, you know, this guy comes out and blows these people away and his daughter sees it," he said.

Dr. Walter also says the addiction to violent video games is becoming more and more pervasive, that it desensitizes people to death and blurs the line between fiction and reality.

 "It's a way of not relating with people and making that your life. And, those people are a little crazy," Dr. Afield said.

Estaban Zavala is still in the hospital recovering.

The families of Christian Rodriguez and Joe Palacios are planning funerals for their loved ones.

Related stories: 

Judge denies bond to "cold-blooded killer"

ONLY ON 10: "He has my heart," says mother of shooting victim"

Winter Haven Police Chief calls Joshua Davis a "cold-blooded killer"

Arrest made in connection with Winter Haven triple shooting


 

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