Fact Check

15-Year-Old Killed Trespassing While Playing Pokemon Go

Fake news reports that a homeowner fatally shot a trespassing Pokemon Go player.

Published July 13, 2016

A homeowner shot and killed a teenaged boy trespassing during a round of Pokemon Go.

The introduction of Pokemon Go in July 2016 inevitably made the phenomenon a target of rumor and fake news, including an article reporting that a teen boy has been killed for trespassing while immersed in the game:

A teen was tragically shot dead on Sunday after trespassing onto private property while attempting to catch a Pokemon in the new game “Pokemon Go” ... According to [the] report, 15-year-old Arthur Disby apparently left his house on Sunday around 1 a.m., with a friend who was staying over, when the two friends noted a rare Pokemon had appeared in the nearby Pokemon list. The two friends reportedly left the house without notifying adults, and started searching the neighborhood for the rare Pokemon. The friends apparently thought they had pinpointed the rare Pokemon, but could not get close enough to it, because it seemed to be inside a neighborhood home.

The deceased teenager’s friend reports that Arthur first circled the residence, triggering security lights as he attempted to get the Pokemon to appear. He then walked into an enclosed back porch of the residence, and when it still did not appear he started checking windows on the house and attempted to open them.

Homeowner Ellen Jones, a 47-year-old widow who lived by herself in the home, was awoken by the sound of someone trying to open her bedroom window ... The widow panicked and shot at the teen twice, striking him both times.

The teenager was transported to an area hospital with two gunshot wounds to the chest where he subsequently died from the injuries.

Then police department issued a statement that people should play the game sensibly and respect private property boundaries at all times.

Readers who scrolled down to the bottom of the article might have noted its tagline suggested that the publishing site wasn't necessarily on the level:

TheNoChill .com is the most notorious entertainment website in the world founded by Pancho Villa in 1922. Shared by trillions around the world.

Although this fake story gained popularity via TheNoChill, it originated with notorious fake news outlet National Report. Among fabricated "news" items pertaining to Pokemon Go were claims a player caused a serious traffic accident while distracted by the game, that the app was developed for Satanists, that Australian police used the game to target players, that a teen stabbed his brother to death because he thought the younger boy deleted his Pokemon, that The Simpsons predicted the advent of Pokemon Go, and that a teen wandered into a bad neighborhood and was stabbed playing the game.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.