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February 25, 2018

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Police: 2 shot in attempted robbery of Pokemon Go players

Image

Steve Marcus

A view of Freedom Park in Las Vegas Monday, July 25, 2016.

Updated Monday, July 25, 2016 | 3:17 p.m.

Authorities say a gunman tried to rob a group of people playing the Pokemon Go game at a Las Vegas park, so a player pulled a firearm and the two sides exchanged fire.

Police spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said two men in the case now have non-life threatening injuries.

The incident began shortly after 4 a.m. Monday, when a group of six people were at a public park east of downtown playing the popular cellphone game, which sends players to physical locations to "catch" virtual Pokemon characters.

Police said an armed man and a juvenile drove up to the group in an SUV and demanded their possessions at gunpoint. One of the Pokemon players who has a concealed weapons permit drew his own gun and the two sides exchanged fire.

One person in the Pokemon group was shot once in the stomach and taken to the hospital. Meltzer said it's unclear if that person shot is also the player who had his own gun but that the group of local players knew each other.

The man believed to be the suspect also appeared at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the back. A matching SUV was also found at the hospital.

Charges are expected against both the suspect and the juvenile who was driving the SUV, Meltzer said.

Facebook users in a few Pokemon Go groups have suggested the location of the shooting, Gary Reese Freedom Park, a hotspot for a particular kind of pocket monster known as Magikarp. In postings about nearby parks that are good places to catch specific kinds of Pokemon, the park is noted as a good place to collect the fish-like creature.

This isn't the first report of suspects trying to rob people engrossed in the hugely-popular Pokemon Go game. Four teens in St. Louis robbed victims earlier this month after luring them to a specific location using the Pokemon Go, a GPS-powered "augmented reality" game.

Since it launched earlier this month, the game's booming popularity has created unintended consequences in everyday life, from annoyed property owners dealing with hordes of monster hunters to store owners using the game to attract customers.

Associated Press writer Samantha Shotzbarger contributed from Phoenix.

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