The Arizona Republic
Nov. 4, 2000
By Brent Whiting

School Hostage Taker Inspired by Video Game?

Sean Botkin is accused of taking students and a teacher hostage at Pioneer Elementary School.

  The boy accused of taking hostages at a Glendale elementary school had a fascination with GoldenEye 007, a violent video game. And during the Oct. 24 hostage ordeal at the school, Sean Botkin, 14, wore camouflage clothing with the nickname of one of the game's characters emblazoned above the left breast pocket, according to a videotaped interview of Botkin released Friday by Glendale police.

GoldenEye 007, based on a James Bond movie, features a character called Dmitri Mishkin, whose nickname, "Mishki," Botkin had on his clothing. The game features spy-style and covert tactics as players confront and kill enemies with an array of weapons. In the game, Mishkin, a Russian defense minister, is a Bond enemy who later becomes an ally of the British superspy.

Paul Miller, a psychology professor at Arizona State University West, said it's possible that the video game could have influenced Botkin. Miller said he's never talked with the boy but knows that children can be affected by characters that they see on television shows or in video games.

Norm and Carey Botkin, the boy's parents, could not be reached for comment. Police say that Sean Botkin was armed with his father's 9mm pistol when he entered a classroom at Pioneer Elementary School, at 6315 W. Port au Prince Lane.

Officers said he took about two dozen students and their mathematics teacher, Candace Briney, as hostages. The showdown ended peacefully when Botkin, a former eighth-grader at the school, surrendered to police.

He is being prosecuted as an adult on charges of interfering with an educational institution, misconduct involving a weapon and six counts of kidnapping.

According to a lengthy report by police, one playmate told officers that Botkin liked GoldenEye 007 a lot and often talked about the guns that were used in the video game. The friend also said that Botkin liked how players sneak in and out of buildings to conduct their spy missions. Another playmate said Botkin sometimes talked about going to school with a gun, then demanding a helicopter or other vehicle to take him to Mexico.