$5 Billion Columbine Suit

updated 04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/06/1998 12:00AM

The families of several victims in the April 20, 1999, Columbine massacre have filed a $5 billion lawsuit against 25 companies that create violent video games and sex-oriented Web sites, reports the Associated Press. The suit claims that the computer programming influenced the gunmen, students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Harris and Klebold fatally shot a teacher and 12 students and wounded 23 others before killing themselves in the massacre. Among those companies named in the suit are Nintendo, Sega, Sony Computer Entertainment, ID Software and AOL Time Warner (which owns PEOPLE) and "Doom" video game creator and publisher GT Interactive Software. While investigating the shooting, police discovered a videotape that showed one of the killers had a sawed-off shotgun on his lap as the youngster called out the name "Arlene," in reference to a character in "Doom." The AP received no comments from the defendants in the case.

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