A 28-year-old man playing a video game in his bedroom threw a fit, broke his headset, then picked up a gun and killed his mother, according to police in Ceres, California.
Matthew Nicholson stayed with his parents in a powder blue house with a basketball hoop over the garage door. It was a loving and open home, and 68-year-old Lydia Nicholson was the sort of mother who “wanted to see the best in people at all times,” her daughter told Fox 40.
But a police spokesman told the station that officers had visited the home after a fight between Nicholson and his parents once in the past six months, before Thursday, when they would arrive too late.
Nicholson was in his room that night playing a game, according to Ceres police, when something upset him and he began to yell. His mother went in to check on him, they started to argue, and Nicholson broke his headset.
He blamed his mother for this, police said, and threatened to kill her and his father, identified by Fox 40 as Loren Nicolson.
There was a gun in the house, police said, and so Nicholson tried to make good on his threat. “He came out yelling something about, ‘My headset is broken,’” police spokesman Greg Yotsuya told NBC affiliate KCRA. “Then grabbed a gun and started shooting.”
He allegedly fired into a wall, twice. Another bullet might have gone into the ceiling, the station reported. Another went into Lydia Nicholson’s head.
“He would’ve killed the father, too, but the gun jammed,” a family friend told Fox 40. “The father grabbed the gun, emptied it.”
Without a weapon anymore, police said, Matthew Nicholson fled in a vehicle, leaving his parents to their misery.
Loren had been with Lydia for 32 years, according to Fox 40. Now he called 911 and held his wife in his arms.
Police pulled up to the house on River Valley Circle just before 10 p.m. Paramedics followed and took Lydia Nicholson to a hospital, where she would soon die.
Matthew Nicholson had only driven a couple of miles away, and police pulled him over near a relative’s home in Riverbank. He was charged with homicide and jailed without bail.
In the hours to come, friends and relatives would gather outside the house with the basketball hoop. News cameras joined them, and investigators came and went.
“Was it the video game,” the police spokesman wondered aloud to a local NBC station, “or was there something else going on?”
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