JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two people were fatally shot during a video game tournament at a shopping and dining complex Sunday in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff Mike Williams said.
Nine other people suffered gunshot wounds and two people were injured fleeing the area, Williams said.
The gunman, identified as David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, Maryland, took his own life inside Chicago Pizza after the shooting, the sheriff said. Katz, who was in Jacksonville for the video game competition, used at least one handgun in the shooting, the sheriff said.
The shooting occurred at the Jacksonville Landing complex during a qualifying event for the Madden 19 Tournament at the GLHF Game Bar, CompLexity Gaming, one of the gaming teams, said on Twitter. The Landing is an open-air marketplace with stores, bars and restaurants in downtown Jacksonville along the St. Johns River.
At least three people injured in the shooting were transported to Memorial Hospital and all are in stable condition, hospital spokesperson Pete Moberg said. One person is being treated for a minor injury at Baptist Medical Center, spokesperson Cindy Hamilton said.
UF Health Jacksonville received six patients, including one in serious condition. The victims ranged in age from 20 to 35 years old. The victim in serious condition had multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, and doctors are monitoring this patient’s heart.
At least three patients were shot once, and three were shot more than once, UF Health said.
Williams said the injured victims were in stable condition.
In an online stream of the Madden event posted to the website Twitch, several loud gunshots can be heard and the game abruptly stops.
After several shots ring out, people can be heard screaming, and one person cries out, “Oh f**, what’d he shoot me with?” The stream did not show the shooting.
The event was the Southeastern Qualifier for the Madden NFL Championship Series for Madden NFL 19, according to the bar’s Facebook page.
“This is your chance to earn your spot in the first Major’s Live Finals happening in October 2018. Don’t hesitate to secure your spot,” the post read in part.
‘I’m still shocked’
Ryen Alemon, who came from Texas to participate in the gaming tournament, said he ducked down and ran toward the restroom when he heard the gunshots. He stayed there for about 10 minutes and then ran from the scene.
“I’m still shocked. I can hardly talk,” he said.
Sheriff Williams said the area had been cleared of witnesses and asked that people do not come downtown because of the size of the crime scene.
Malik Brunson said he was at a nearby Hooters restaurant when the shooting occurred.
“All I heard was, ‘He got a gun,’ and the shooting started. One of the men ran into Hooters with the shot wounds, they locked us in the restaurant,” he said in a social media message.
CompLexity Gaming Founder and CEO Jason Lake said one of their gamers, a 19 year old who goes by Drini, was shot in the thumb but managed to escape and is going to be fine. Lake told CNN that the shooting may make the growing eSports industry reconsider security at events.
“To have someone walk into an event like this that’s all about good sportsmanship and teamwork and just good vibes, and do something like this, it’s heartbreaking,” he said. “I think the eSports industry as a whole is going to have to step back and take a look at further strengthening our security.”
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. Gov. Rick Scott said he spoke to President Trump, who offered federal resources.
“The nation once again looks to Florida with grief and heavy hearts,” former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting, said in a statement.
“The massacre in Jacksonville is a tragic reminder of the threats we face from gun violence, no matter who we are or where our day takes us,” said Giffords, who co-founded a gun violence prevention organization. “And it’s yet another devastating indictment of this country’s inability to keep our kids safe.”