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Police chief's widow protests video game

Brenda Lund, left, and niece Kelliann Crowell, 13, join others outside Avalanche Video to protest the video game "25 to Life" on Monday. Lund's husband, a UHP troop, was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1993 in Green River.
Brenda Lund, left, and niece Kelliann Crowell, 13, join others outside Avalanche Video to protest the video game "25 to Life" on Monday. Lund's husband, a UHP troop, was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1993 in Green River.
Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News

Standing on the corner of two rush-hour thoroughfares Monday afternoon, Lynette Gurr struggled to find words to describe the four years since her husband, Roosevelt Police Chief Cecil Gurr, was shot and killed on duty.

"It's been a nightmare that's indescribable," Gurr said. "Your life is absolutely blown up and you do the best you can."

Gurr was at the intersection of 500 South and West Temple talking about her husband — shot in the head while trying to protect a woman from her boyfriend — and speaking out against a video game in which players can kill a cop to advance.

She and about three dozen others, waving American flags and holding signs for the stream of cars winding toward I-15 at the end of the day, said they had gathered outside Avalanche Software in an effort to protect police officers.

"If we don't protect them, who's going to protect them?" said Gurr, whose 26-year-old son is a police officer. "I can't stand the thought that he's a target now; that somebody made a game out of this. It's not a game."

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who participated in the protest, said he had spoken with the maker of "25 to Life," Eidos Interactive, a San Francisco-based company that contracted with Utah-based Avalanche Software to design the game. Shurtleff and Gurr are requesting that the game receive an adults-only rating, which would prohibit stores selling it to children.

Eidos has delayed the release of "25 to Life" until sometime in 2006, according to a statement from the company.

He describes it as an urban action game "that gives the player the ability to experience the lifestyle of law enforcement officers and a criminal attempting to end his life of crime."

An Avalanche Software executive did not return a telephone call Monday, but the company said in a brief statement that it has turned down future opportunities to create similar products. "As we move forward, we are committed to build upon our portfolio of award-winning and critically acclaimed family-friendly video games."

To Kim Ball, family-friendly video games include the sports computer games that her three sons enjoy playing. Ball, who brought her children with her to the protest, said that Avalanche Software faced a moral issue because the game allows players to pretend to kill "those who try to protect us, and they're making money off it."

Brad Chapman, a friend of the Gurr family, held a photo taken during Gurr's funeral: a huddle of police officers stand apart from a casket shrouded with an American flag.

"No one should make profit out of teaching kids to kill," Chapman said.


E-MAIL: kswinyard@desnews.com