Video game ‘obsession’  haunted gunman, a loner

The nearest thing to a clue left behind by Stefan Martin-Urban to explain his homicidal behavior on Oct. 11 was what Grand Junction police called his obsession with video games.

The 22-year-old man who shot to death two people, wounded two others and tried several times to kill a fifth remains an enigma to investigators trying to learn why he stalked and fired
on the victims.

Video games don’t explain why Martin-Uban acted as he did, but do suggest they gave him a model.

It’s also possible that violent video games filled a void in Martin-Urban’s life that never was touched by flesh-and-blood people.

To be sure, said Michelle Hoy, LPC, program director for child and family outpatient programs at Colorado West Regional Mental Health’s Grand Junction facility, “Violent video games are not going to be the isolated causative factor.”

That said, video games aren’t without influence, especially in the absence of other factors.

“When people are connected to friends and family, eating well, exercising and engaged in life and also playing violent video games, they have little or no effect,” Hoy said.

That description, however, doesn’t seem to fit Martin-Urban, whose high school yearbook was without inscriptions from friends his senior year.

Martin-Urban “became obsessed with the violence and evil readily available on video games and the Internet,” Grand Junction Police Chief Bill Gardner said in a statement. “We can only hope this tragedy awakens parents and families to the threat posed to young people’s minds through their home computers.”

Mike Gallagher, the one person at whom Martin-Urban aimed, fired and missed, said he wasn’t entirely persuaded that the video-game obsession explained the gunman’s behavior.

“I just wish in some way that parents were more cognizant of what their kids are into,” Gallagher said.


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