An unnamed security guard in Chesapeake, Virginia reportedly shoots and kills 60 year old Jiansheng Chen, who was playing Pokemon GO inside a parked van.
At the height of its popularity, Pokemon GO was the center of a number of outlandish stories, from unsuspecting players stumbling upon dead bodies to a pair of inattentive gamers literally falling off a cliff while playing the popular mobile game. The sensational headlines have become less common as Pokemon GO‘s player base has dropped, but since there are still millions of would-be Pokemon trainers out hunting for the elusive critters, the game is not completely free of real-world incidents.
The latest incident tied to Pokemon GO lacks the humor of a man snapping a screenshot of a Pidgey while his wife is busy giving birth to his child or the awe of seeing a stampede of players storm through Central Park in search of a rare, wild Vaporeon. Sadly, Pokemon GO has been linked to another real-world tragedy, as 60 year old Jiansheng Chen of Chesapeake, Virginia has reportedly been shot and killed by a neighborhood security guard while playing the game.
This is according to local Chesapeake news station WTKR, citing Chen’s attorney, Greg Sandler. As explained by Sandler, Chen, who played Pokemon GO to bond with his grandchildren, was parked near the Pokemon Gym club house in Chesapeake’s River Walk neighborhood. Chen, whose family resides in the River Walk neighborhood, only spoke a few words of English, and so it’s theorized that the language barrier is what escalated the incident, resulting in the unnamed security guard shooting the front of Chen’s vehicle five times, killing him.
“His family is a homeowner in the area. Ironically, he is one of the people security is supposed to be protecting as a homeowner.”
The River Walk Community Association sent WTKR an official statement on the incident, stating that the organization has hired roaming patrol services, but the security guards are supposed to be unarmed. It is unclear at this point why the security guard was armed and why he felt the need to shoot Chen, but those details should come to light as the local Chesapeake police move forward with their investigation.
Chen’s tragic death will serve as yet another blemish on the reputation of Pokemon GO. Even though the game can hardly be blamed for what took place in Chesapeake, it has been blamed for numerous car accidents, as irresponsible players attempt to play the game while driving. Inattentive drivers playing Pokemon GO while behind the wheel have caused severe accidents and even the death of at least one woman.
As far as video games go, Pokemon GO may have the highest body count directly associated with it at this point. Even so, it seems as though these deadly incidents aren’t what have turned players away from the mobile game in droves, but rather Niantic dragging its feet about adding often-requested features like Pokemon trading is to blame for its waning popularity. If Niantic creates an update compelling enough to trigger a second boom for Pokemon GO, it may mean big things for the brand, but on the other hand, it could see tragic stories like this one become as frequent as they were last summer.
Pokemon GO is available now for Android and iOS mobile devices.