Gamer ID’d as Gunman Who Shot Up Jacksonville Madden Tournament, Killing 2 and Self
A mass shooting Sunday at a popular video gaming tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, left three people dead, including the alleged gunman, and sent at least 11 people to the hospital with injuries, local authorities said.
No motive has been released, but Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said that police have determined the shooter is 24-year-old David Katz from Baltimore who used a handgun in the shooting. He is believed to be the only shooter and there is no remaining threat.
Katz is believed to have been in Jacksonville for the competition and is believed to have spent at least one night in town, Williams said.
The shooting, which was caught on a live video stream, took place around 1:30 p.m. at the Madden NFL Tournament Regional Qualifier, an annual football tournament in which players compete to play in the national competition, which this year is being held in Las Vegas.
In the immediate aftermath, authorities were scrambling to rush the injured to hospitals and rescue those who had taken cover. They urged people via Twitter to call 911 so we can get to you. Of the 11 injured in the shooting, nine suffered gunshot wounds, and two others were hurt in the melee that followed. None of the injuries are believed to be life threatening.
Federal authorities were monitoring the situation and the ATF sent local agents to the scene. Authorities in Baltimore are assisting in the investigation.
The video stream of the tournament captured the chilling crime. As competitors were playing, about a dozen gunshots rang out over roughly 20 seconds. The stream went dead, and frantic audio of the incident continued for nearly two minutes.
One person in the room could be heard saying, Oh my God! and Whered he go? about a dozen times after the shooting stopped.
Drini Gjoka, a top player at the Madden tournament, was shot in the thumb and understandably very shaken, according to his spokesman, Jason Lake. Lake wrote on Twitter that the shooting was a sad day and a WAKE UP CALL for organizers small and large.
Gjokas Twitter posts showed how abruptly the tournament went from the scene of fun gaming to one of bloodshed.
Won my first single elim game 16-9. Off to Round of 32, he wrote.
Minutes later, he tweeted: The tourney just got shot up. Im leavinng [sic] and never coming back.
I will never take anything for granted ever again. Life can be cut short in a second, he wrote later.
The mother of Michael Skimbo, another gamer in the room, said she was playing the livestream in the background while making lunch and was sent into a panic by the gunshots.
We were waiting for him to play. I heard the shots on my laptop and I went in there to see what was going on, Valerie Skimbo said in an interview with The Daily Beast. I could hear in the background… Oh my god! Oh my god! then the screen went blank, and I started praying, Let Michael be OK.
I got on my phone and I texted him. He usually doesnt reply to me, she added. I said, Let me know right now if youre OK. He called. He said, Mom, Im OK, I love you, I gotta go, and then he hung up.
The shooting took place at Jacksonville Landing, a popular tourist spot downtown that was packed with people. The event was taking place inside Chicago Pizza, a restaurant at the complex with a video game bar.
The Jacksonville Sheriffs Office confirmed multiple fatalities at the scene.
Police urged the public to avoid the scene. We cant stress enough to stay away. Many blocks away, police said on Twitter.
SWAT teams working to clear the area were finding many people hiding in locked areas at The Landing, police said.
We ask you to stay calm, stay where you are hiding, the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office tweeted. SWAT is doing a methodical search inside The Landing. We will get to you. Please dont come running out.
WARNING: DISTURBING AUDIO