Jacksonville Mass Shooting: 3 Dead At Madden NFL Gaming Event
JACKSONVILLE, FL — Authorities have not yet confirmed the motive behind Sunday’s mass shooting during a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament, but a witness attributed the frightening scene to the gunman losing the tournament. The shooting at the Jacksonville Landing entertainment complex resulted in the deaths of three people — including the lone suspect. Eleven more people were injured.
A Twitch.tv livestream showed two gamers playing Madden when a red laser dot appears on the chest of a player wearing a red and white sweater and white headphones. More than a dozen gunshots then ring out and at least one person screams in agony.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Sunday night identified the suspect as 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore and said there were a total of 14 victims, 12 with gunshot wounds. Nine of them were taken to hospitals by emergency responders and two more drove themselves to the hospital.
Multiple media outlets identified the two slain gamers as Eli Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, California, and Taylor Robinson, 27, of Ballard, West Virginia. Clayton played under the name “Trueboy,” and Robinson played under the name “SpotMePlzzz.”
See also: Middletown Man Among Those Shot In Jacksonville: Reports
The shooting occurred about 1:30 p.m. Sunday and calls to police started pouring in, according to the sheriff’s office.
Katz, who was part of the competition, used at least one handgun, the sheriff’s office told reporters Sunday night. He was reportedly known as “Bread” and Ravenschamp” and won the 2017 Madden NFL 17 Bills championship.
Tournament participant Steven “Steveyj” Javaruski told the Los Angeles Times the shooter was a disgruntled gamer who had played in the tournament and lost. The gunman specifically “targeted a few people” before killing himself, Javaruski told the newspaper.
Javaruski tweeted that police officers escorted him out of the building. “I got out. Police escorted me. I’m done going to any Madden events not EA Majors with security,” Javaruski wrote.
Witness Ryan Alemon told CNN he saw the gun laser. Everyone ran and ducked for cover when about 20 shots rang out, he said. Alemon ran and hid in a restroom for about 10 minutes.
“Everyone was just running and everyone was dropping because they were getting shot,” he said, adding that he also heard people yelling for help.
CNN reported that members of Jacksonville Fire Station 1 were conducting routine training in a parking garage across the street from the Landing when people came running out.
Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters, said one person showed the firefighters they had been shot in the chest. He said four firefighters administered first aid as others ran toward the Landing and flagged down a police officer. They found the three dead bodies.
The sheriff’s office said they believe Katz stayed in the area overnight and were trying to determine where. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives visited Katz’s Baltimore address Sunday and impounded his car.
Authorities said people continued hiding in locked areas at the Landing long after the gunfire stopped.
Other videos posted on YouTube showed a heavy law enforcement presence at the Landing, as well as numerous firetrucks and ambulances. Deputies blocked off the area.
The Madden video game tournament was being held Sunday at GLHF Game Bar. The $5,000 tournament began around 11 a.m., according to the bar’s Facebook page. CompLexity Gaming, a professional gaming team, tweeted that there appeared to be a shooting at the Jacksonville Madden event and at least one of its players was hurt.
“There appears to have been a shooting at the event, and @YoungDrini was grazed in the hand. He is away from the scene and safe,” the company said.
CEO Jason Lake told CNN he was watching one of his gamers, Drini Gjoka, playing the Madden tournament when shots rang out. Gjoka was shot and believes the player next to him was also shot, said Lake.
“He’s not severely injured, thank God,” Lake said. “He then ran out of the building onto the street and took shelter at a nearby gym. He’s obviously pretty shaken.”
Gjoka, whose twitter handle is @YoungDrini, tweeted that he was shot in the thumb and called it the “worst day” of his life. “I will never take anything for granted ever again. Life can be cut short in a second,” wrote Gjoka.
The Jacksonville Landing, which hosts hundreds of events every year, is located along the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville. It features numerous restaurants, nightlife and shops. The gaming bar is at the back of Chicago Pizza.
City Mayor Lenny Curry said he is in contact with Sheriff Mike Williams regarding the ongoing situation.
“Please follow @JSOPIO and all instructions from the Sheriff’s office regarding movement downtown. The mayor and Sheriff are expected to address media later today,” the city wrote in a tweet.
Gov. Rick Scott said he is also in contact with Williams to offer any necessary state resources.
President Donald Trump has been briefed and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tweeted it was responding.
EA Sports said it is aware of the incident at a sanctioned Madden Championship Series competition. “We are working with authorities to gather facts at this stage,” the company said.
Photo credit: Screenshot of Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office news conference
Click Here: Rugby league Jerseys