Pokemon GO has seen its fair share of negativity, most related to people making some fumbles while playing the game and neglecting personal safety. The latest story being presented about a young teenager shot and killed in Guatemala, however, does not appear to be related to the popular mobile game.
Jerson Lopez de Leon, an 18-year-old resident of Chiquimula, Guatemala, went out one night with another youth to hunt for Pokemon. While on the street, they were reportedly shot by a man in a truck, who immediately fled the scene. Jerson Lopez de Leon was killed by one of the shots, and the other young man was injured. They were playing Pokemon GO at the time. However, that is about where the pertinence of the app ends, as it does not appear Pokemon GO was a motivating factor in the attack.
Some stories such as this one by The Mirror have alleged the teenagers broke into a house, however, local sources state no such thing happened. It is possible that there may be confusion over a similar story in Florida, where a man shot at teenagers parked outside his home at night because he believed them to be burglars). Guatemala police have not offered any further information at this time. In this instance, Pokemon GO seems to only be tangentially related. Drive-by shootings and street violence are unfortunately not a rarity in Guatemala. The country has one of the highest incidences of violence in Central America.
It is important to remind Pokemon GO plays to remain aware of their surroundings and the risks associated with being distracted by the game, especially when traveling late at night. Safety should always come first, so always remain aware and if you feel you are in danger, find somewhere safe to wait or find your way back home as quickly as possible. However, the game is not to blame for the actions people take against those playing the game (whether motivated by the game or not).
We are attempting to reach out to the police station and other sources at this time to get more information and will update it.