Another Scary Pokémon Go Headline

San Francisco authorities are still sorting out the details.

SFExaminer_8_8The location in San Francisco where 20-year-old university student Calvin Riley was shot and killed Saturday night is a few dozen blocks from the headquarters of Niantic Inc. Although the developers of Pokémon Go bear only, at most, incidental responsibility for this senseless murder, the role played by the game in such situations is once again being debated.

For today’s San Francisco Examiner front-page story, reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez spoke with Patricia Hernandez, deputy editor of Gawker Media videogame news site Kotaku. She explained that one of the reasons people like Riley are out at night playing the game is that it is only then that certain nocturnal pocket monsters can be caught:

Hernandez also noted that Pokémon Go’s outrageous popularity – reaching more than 100 million downloads on the Android app store in just a month – raises its own questions about Niantic’s responsibility to players.

“It’s also this sort of funny thing where, if literally everyone is playing the game, Pokémon Go becomes almost incidental to some crimes” and incidents, she said.

The story of Riley’s murder has been picked up nationally by various outlets, starting with UPI, The Guardian and the Boston Globe. Riley, originally from Lowell, Mass., was set to begin his sophomore year at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. He reportedly ventured into San Francisco Saturday night with a friend to play Pokémon Go, though it’s not yet clear whether he was doing so at the time of the shooting.

Update (August 9):
A vigil will be held in San Mateo on Thursday night, followed by a funeral mass Friday morning. According to the Chronicle, it has been confirmed that Riley was playing Pokémon Go at the time of the Aquatic Park shooting.

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