(Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Excel23, used under a Creative Commons license)
Three people were killed and 11 were injured in a mass shooting at a Jacksonville, Fla., esports tournament on Sunday.
The shooting happened around 1:30 p.m., at The Jacksonville Landing, a shopping center that was hosting a Madden 19 event.
(1/2) 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.
— Dot City Gaming (@DotCityGaming) August 27, 2018
“They were great competitors and well-loved members of the Madden community,” Dot City Gaming went on to tweet. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to their families, loved ones, and all of those affected by this tragedy.”
The suspect fatally shot himself, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said. “Pending confirmation,” he was identified as David Katz, a 24-year-old Baltimore resident.
Single suspect is a white male. Pending confirmation, we believe the suspect is a 24-year-old, David Katz from Baltimore, MD. FBI is assisting us in Baltimore, MD. https://t.co/qBJvkaO7xT
— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) August 27, 2018
On Sunday night, authorities searched the family home of Katz in South Baltimore, which is located off Key Highway in the 1200 block of Harbor Island Walk, WJZ reported.
ATF Baltimore Special Agents are on scene in South Baltimore with @FBIBaltimore to assist ATF Tampa & @FBIJacksonville, who are working with @JSOPIO following #TheLandingMassShooting today. All media inquiries should be directed to @JSOPIO, who are the lead on this investigation. pic.twitter.com/PBb5hDuVWR
— ATF Baltimore (@ATFBaltimore) August 27, 2018
According to the Washington Post, Katz played in Madden tournaments under the monikers “Bread” and “RavensChamp.” Police said Katz was in Jacksonville for the tournament. Last year, he won a Madden 17 competition in Buffalo.
The event, hosted by Madden publisher EA Sports, gathered professional video game players in a qualifying event for the esports season, Business Insider reported. Like many esports events, the event reached beyond the venue itself and was broadcast live on Twitch.
The communities that form around the games remain “tremendously tight-knit,” said Sean Sutherland. He’s involved in the local esports community around the game Dota 2, and has found it to be an inclusive space where he’s formed friendships.
“I’m sure I’m not the only one that said to themselves: ‘I can’t believe this happened here,'” Sutherland said, referring to an esports event. The shooting happened a day after Sutherland organized a local watch party for an international Dota 2 tournament. He said the Jacksonville shooting caused him to think about safety at the events he is organizing.
“We take as many steps necessary to make sure that the space is as safe as possible,” he said.
The shooting is prompting a wider look at security in esports. In Philly, an organizer of tournaments with N3rd Street Gamers said the company is committed to “immediate security upgrades of our permanent esports facilities as well as at our upcoming events at third party facilities,” according to our sister site Technical.ly Philly.-30-
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