Argument over Diablo loot ends in fatal shooting

Image for Argument over Diablo loot ends in fatal shooting
(Image credit: Blizzard)

On Friday 17 December Joshua G. Spellman of Amboy, WA appeared in Clark County Superior Court accused of second-degree murder (via The Columbian). The 36-year-old Spellman allegedly shot and killed 34-year-old Andrew Dickson, his friend of 26 years, following a heated argument about an incident in a game of Diablo II that the pair were playing.

In an interview with detectives, Spellman said he, Dickson and a third man were playing Diablo II. Both Spellman and Dickson were playing the game from separate places on the same property, communicating via headset.

Dickson apparently became upset when a random player entered the game and 'stole' a valuable piece of loot that the party hadn't collected. The game should have been password protected but wasn't, and the affidavit says Spellman told detectives that Dickson began "yelling, name-calling and cursing at him."

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Spellman said Dickson’s rant went on for three to five minutes, and he told Dickson he needed to calm down or he was going to get shot. Spellman took his gun from beside his computer and went to the main house on the property (both he and Dickson lived in smaller houses on the same land). Per the affidavit: "I asked him why his pistol was next [to] the computer. [Spellman] replied, 'Why not? This is America.'"

While walking between the houses, Spellman fired the gun into the air, before entering the main house. He apparently spoke to his father inside the house before Dickson also entered, and verbally remonstrated with Spellman about the earlier threat to shoot him. Per the affidavit, Dickson "closed the distance" between the pair, and Spellman shot him.

Dickson was shot in the torso and was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery but died from his injuries.

Senior deputy prosecutor Luka Vitasovic requested Spellman be held on $2 million bail, arguing "a seemingly minor incident resulted in someone being shot and killed." Judge Snider set Spellman’s bail at $750,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 29.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."