Jacksonville Shooting Victims identified, Gaming Community Mourns

August 27, 2018 Updated: September 6, 2018

Three people died at a shooting at a Jacksonville, Florida, video game tournament on Aug. 26.

One of the competitors shot others with a handgun while the tournament was being streamed live on popular video game website Twitch. Some were hit by gunshots, others were injured in the rush to escape the venue, Florida Today reported.

A cook in the pizza kitchen attached to the venue grabbed kitchen knives in case the shooter, who he spotted through windows, would attempt to enter the kitchen, he told Florida Today. The suspected shooter, David Katz, was ultimately found dead.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless violence in Jacksonville and the tragic deaths of Dot City Gaming team member, Taylor “SpotMePlzzz” Robertson, and Eli “Trueboy” Clayton,” wrote Dot City Gaming, via Twitter. “They were great competitors and well-loved members of the Madden community. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to their families, loved ones, and all of those affected by this tragedy.”

Until the gunshots, the tournament was broadcast live via Twitch. The Jacksonville Madden 19 qualifying event was part of a nationwide tournament for the EA Sports Madden 19 NFL video game. A $5,000 prize was waiting for the winner, according to an Instagram post by the game bar.

The Madden tournament started near the beginning of August, and goes until the 2019 Madden Bowl, April 21, in Nashville, Tennessee. The best competitors can win part of over $1.2 million in cash prizes on offer, according to the Madden NFL 19 official competition rules.

EA Sports Madden NFL issued a statement via Twitter:

“The tragic situation that occurred Sunday in Jacksonville was a senseless act act of violence that we strongly condemn. Our most heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of the victims whose lives were taken today and those who were injured.”

The Jacksonville event attracted competitors from states around the country. Victim Taylor Robertson, 27, came from Ballard, West Virginia, to join the Jacksonville tournament and victim Eli Clayton, 22, is listed as coming from Woodland Hills, California, on his Competitive Madden profile at EA Sports. The shooter came from Baltimore, Maryland, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The competition took place at a restaurant that serves pizza and drinks among a room filled with video game screens. Chicago Pizza, the restaurant and bar portion of the venue, is directly connected to the GLHF Game Bar. The space offers a huge assortment of video games rentable for play by the hour. Pinball and coin-operated arcade machines line the walls. The food and drink menus are customized for gamers, as are the walls on the inside and outside of the venue, painted with video game and comic book characters, according to the websites for the pizza restaurant and the game bar, and visuals obtained from Google Maps.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported, via Twitter, 11 people with gunshot wounds and two with injuries sustained in other ways. Katz, the 24-year-old suspect, killed himself.

Authorities went to Katz’s Baltimore residence after the shooting. Katz was a student at the University of Maryland, but didn’t live on campus and wasn’t currently enrolled in classes. Katz had already been beaten by two opponents and eliminated from competitive play at the time he began shooting, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Katz won an upset victory at a Madden competition in Buffalo, New York, in 2017, in a special Buffalo Bills edition of the tournament, The Washington Post reported. The official Buffalo Bills Twitter page posted a tweet with a photo of Katz holding a custom Bills jersey, and a message of congratulations.

From NTD.tv