A gunman killed two people and injured nine before turning the gun on himself in a mass shooting at a ‘Madden NFL’ tournament in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday. The gunman, 24-year-old David Katz from Baltimore, killed himself after opening fire inside the GLHF Game Bar at Jacksonville Landing, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s department police. A possible motive for the shooting has not been released at this time.
How did this unfold?
The tournament on Sunday was a qualification event, with the winner moving on to a larger tournament in Las Vegas scheduled for later this year. Dozens of east coast players traveled to Jacksonville for the event, including large-name players inside the Madden scene, and professional gamers who are members of esports teams.
Shortly after the round of 32 was announced, gamer Drini Gjoka, member of compLexity gaming tweeted that there had been a shooting at the tournament.
The tourney just got shot up. Im leavinng and never coming back— Drini Gjoka (@YoungDrini) August 26, 2018
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office followed up by saying there was a mass shooting at Jacksonville Landing, a waterfront festival marketplace where the GLHF Game Bar was located. Police warned people to take cover, indicating it was still dangerous to enter the area.
The tournament, which was streaming at the time of the shooting, helped shed light on what took place. Players were getting ready to start a game when shots could be heard in the background, followed by screams.
What police are saying
In a Sunday afternoon press conference, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office stated that there was only one suspect who was killed at the scene, and that David Katz had been competing in the tournament before allegedly opening fire. Police have not released a possible motive at this time, but one of the gamers at the tournament told the Los Angeles Times that Katz “targeted a few people” after he was eliminated from the tournament.
Two players, 27-year-old Taylor “SpotMePlzzz” Robertson from West Virginia and 22-year-old Eli “True” Clayton from California, were killed in the shooting. Robertson, a father and pro-gamer, won The Madden Classic in 2017, while Clayton was a former high school football player who reportedly made the switch to professional Madden as a way to keep his love for the game.
FBI agents raided Katz’s Baltimore home as part of an ongoing investigation, but have not released additional information.
EA Sports, developer of Madden NFL released the following:
The NFL tweeted on Sunday night:
We are grateful for the first responders immediately on the scene. We support our partners at EA Sports and will continue to monitor developments with local law enforcement. (2/2)— NFL (@NFL) August 26, 2018
Jaguars owner Shad Khan released a statement:
In addition, Florida governor Rick Scott met with one of the injured players in hospital.
We will continue to update this story as details unfold.