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David Katz the Madden shooter. pic.twitter.com/5vktku3kou— ?? Ferrari Sheppard (@stopbeingfamous) August 26, 2018
Scores of video game enthusiasts were engrossed in a virtual football match in Jacksonville, Florida, when a gunman suddenly opened fire inside the recreation center, killing two and injuring at least 11 – including two who were wounded while trying to flee the building.
The tragic incident of gun violence took place at the Chicago Pizza in Jacksonville Landing, a downtown marketplace and entertainment area, where Electronic Arts Sports’ Madden NFL 19 championship series was being held.
Since the tournament, which brings together gamers from all across the country, was being streamed live on gaming network Twitch TV, most of the shooting and its chaotic aftermath was caught on video and audio clips, which have since gone viral on the internet.
The authorities have identified the alleged shooter as Baltimore resident David Katz, a contestant who was apparently well-known in the gaming community. As could be heard in the video above, the 24-year-old suspect fired several shots at fellow participants before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams. Authorities believe he used “at least one handgun.”
“There were three deceased individuals at the scene, one of those being the suspect, who took his own life,” he told reporters at a press conference.
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
SWAT teams found the dead bodies while conducting sweeps of the premises.
While a motive behind this insane act of violence has not been released, a Madden competitor claimed Katz, who was known as “RavenChamp” and “Bread” in the gaming circles, had been disqualified from the tournament earlier in the day.
However, this claim has not been confirmed as of yet.
It is also important to note that Katz appeared to have won the Madden Bills Championship in 2017.
“David Katz keeps to himself. He's a man of business. He's not here to make friends,” an announcer said during a YouTube livestream of the 2017 tournament, as pointed out by the Business Insider. “You can't even get him to open up about anything, it's like pulling teeth.”
In the same video, announcers also talked about how “Bread” did not show “much emotion” during the competition.
Shortly after the shooting, officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along with law enforcement agencies raided the suspected shooter’s family home in Baltimore.
Claims have circulated throughout the day that the shooter had used a gamer screen name of “RavensChamp.” I’m told this is an address connected to that man https://t.co/PTbCfomyfz pic.twitter.com/huWqwQjExM— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) August 26, 2018
Video game players participating in the tournament also took to social media to share the details of the incident as it unfolded.
The tourney just got shot up. Im leavinng and never coming back— Drini Gjoka (@YoungDrini) August 26, 2018
I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb— Drini Gjoka (@YoungDrini) August 26, 2018
Im good and safe. Not gonna report anything but a community that's filled with love, friends and family needs some prayer— DUBBY (@DubDotDUBBY) August 26, 2018
They took me to the hospital. Bullet grazed my head. I feel fine, just a scratch on my head. Traumatized and devastated.— DUBBY (@DubDotDUBBY) August 26, 2018
All the time you hear about these shootings and pray for everyone involved. Donate money. Raise awareness and do everything you can. But to be in the room getting shot at and seeing your friends dead......man— DUBBY (@DubDotDUBBY) August 26, 2018
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry also released a statement following the shooting.
“Tonight, Jacksonville is mourning. We've faced an occurrence that is all too common that will require us to continue to do the hard work of public safety,” she said.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images