Shooting at video game tournament leaves three dead

Police secure the shopping complex after the shooting. (YouTube)

By Jesse Stiller
Staff Writer

A mass shooting at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida took the lives of three people and injured several others on Sunday, Aug. 26.

The shooter, 24-year-old David Katz, began the rampage inside the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar, located in the Jacksonville Landing Shopping and Entertainment Complex, according to BBC. Katz became angry after losing a match inside the bar, according to unconfirmed reports.

Elijah Clayton, 21, and Taylor Robinson, 27, were shot and killed shortly after Katz opened fire. The gunman then committed suicide, according to BBC.

A bullet grazed the thumb of player Drini Gjoka, who later tweeted, “I am literally so lucky, the bullet hit my thumb, never going to take anything for granted again,” according to The New York Times.

The shooting was live-streamed on the popular video platform Twitch, which shocked viewers tuning in to watch the tournament.  At one point in the stream, which widely circulated on social media, a small laser dot can be seen on a player’s chest before shots ring out and the transmission is cut, according to The New York Times.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams was quoted by The Associated Press, stating that at this time, the motive for the shooting is not completely clear. He also noted that Katz had two firearms in his possession at the time of the shooting, though he only fired one. According to Williams, the gunman legally purchased both weapons in Baltimore from a licensed dealer.

Electronic Arts, the company that owns the Madden NFL game played at the tournament, released a statement, according to TIME Magazine.

“The tragic situation that occured Sunday in Jacksonville was a senseless act of violence that we strongly condemn. Our most heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of the victims whose lives were taken today and those who were injured,” the statement said.

Katz has been hospitalized twice for mental illness, and was prescribed antidepressant drugs, according to The Associated Press.

Katz’s father, as quoted in the court documents obtained by the Associated Press, warned that his mother was “greatly exaggerating symptoms of mental illness as part of (the couple’s) long…custody battle.”

As voters headed to polls in Florida for the state’s gubernatorial primary elections, gun control remained a major issue for residents, according to CBS News.

NBC tweeted a statement from the March for Our Lives Organization, founded by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, “calling for necessary conversations in order to bring peace to our violent nation.”

Investigations surrounding the incident, as well as Katz’s personal life in the months leading up to the shooting, are still ongoing.