It Started as a Gym Dispute
Pokemon GO was the mobile game that sparked a number of interesting incidents back when it launched in 2016. People would get together, and they’d find a great Pokemon battle or a body. The game had its own spectrum of encounters. More recently, however, a new Pokemon-Go-related meeting led to pure violence.
Imagine you’re hanging leisurely outdoors with a friend when, suddenly, someone charges at you with a tire iron. Reported by Washington TV station KATU, this is what happened to friends Andrew Otton and Grayson Hagstrom. They had been minding their own business on Vancouver’s Burnt Bridge Creek Trail when a random car suddenly parked near them and a man angrily charged out. According to Otton, “He comes out of nowhere, yelling, ‘WHICH ONE OF YOU IS ANDY?’ with a tire iron in his hand,” Just so happens, Otton’s Pokemon GO name is AndySandberg.
Court records reveal the man with the tire iron to be one Stephen Jolly. As for why he was so angry, it seems Jolly was in the process of taking a Pokemon gym when Otton disputed it. Otton said, “I was just reviving my Pokemon when he was trying to take it out. I took it from him, and I didn’t know he just took it, and he was like, ‘Hey did you just take this gym from me? That’s pretty messed up man.’ He was very angrily saying it.”
Obviously, with the amount of frustration behind playing Pokemon GO and tackling a gym, Jolly felt justified. But, claims from both camps seem to be inconsistent. On the one hand, Jolly admits to slamming the tire iron on the table several times, but he disputed the claim that he punched Hagrstrom several times. In order to defend himself, Hagstrom decided on an offensive stand against Jolly. “I got behind him and started choking him,” Hagstrom told KATU. “I figured if he didn’t have consciousness, he wouldn’t be that tough.”
Before the dispute ended, Otton and Hagstrom recorded Jolly’s license plate and delivered his information to Police. Jolly is now facing assault and malicious mischief charges. He has no criminal history. This seems like an especially touchy report, considering the White House’s recent spotlight on violent video games. The irony here is that Pokemon GO isn’t a violent video game, so its relation to the debate (not really a debate) is a head-scratcher.