A mass shooting at a Madden 19 esports tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday left two innocent people dead and at least 11 others wounded in a horrific event that was streaming live on Twitch.tv.
According to police, 24-year-old gamer David Katz fired on competitors in a tournament he had been eliminated from, killing Taylor Robertson and Eli Clayton before turnng the gun on himself and committing suicide.
Twitch Stream Captures Sounds of Shooting
The incident was captured on chilling video from the Twitch stream of the tournament. In the clip, gunshots can be heard in the background, followed by screams and shouting from those in attendance as the game in progress comes to an immediate halt.
The tournament was identified as the Madden 19 Southeast Qualifier, a tournament that would send two players to the Madden Classic in Las Vegas later this year. While the cash prizes in Jacksonville were secondary to the qualification spots, the winner of the Las Vegas tournament will earn $25,000 and a spot in the Madden Bowl, the ultimate event in the Madden Championship series, paying $100,000 to the winner.
Both the shooter and the victims were well known in the competitive Madden scene. Katz, known by the handle “Bread,” had previously won the Buffalo Bills Club Championship tournament in 2017.
Robertson, a 27-year-old from West Virginia, was known in the community as “Spotmeplzzz.” According to EA Sports, he had won over $80,000 in prize money in Madden Championship Series events, and won the Madden 17 Classic. Robertson was married with a young son.
Clayton, a 22-year-old from Woodland Hills, California, was a regular in high-level Madden competitions. Known as “Trueboy,” his EA Sports profile showed him as having $51,000 in Madden prize winnings, with placements in several major events last season.
The shooting provoked shock and outrage from people in all walks of life, ranging from gamers to politicians and gun control advocates – including those the poker world.
“I can’t believe we have shootings happening at E-sports events,” tweeted Joey Ingram. “I used to play in Madden tourneys when I was younger, can’t imagine someone getting killed during one. I hope something like this NEVER happens in the poker room.”
Police did not immediate speculate on a motive for the shooting. While Katz had been eliminated from the tournament, one unnamed witness who spoke to Action News Jax said that he and another player who defeated Katz were not among the targets in the attack.
Victims and witnesses described a chaotic scene in the aftermath of the shooting, with some expressing relief that they didn’t suffer more serious injuries.
I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb
— Drini Gjoka (@Drini) August 26, 2018
“I am literally so lucky,” 19-year-old competitor Drini Gjoka wrote on Twitter. “The bullet hit my thumb.” He followed that up with another tweet: “Worst day of my life.”
Calls for More Security at Esports Events
Some in the esports industry said that the event should be a wakeup call for organizers of competitive gaming events.
“I’ve been saying events NEED better security,” tweeted Call of Duty player Seth Abner. “Such a damn shame that now event coordinators will respond after a tragedy happens.”
That sentiment was echoed by Jason Lake, CEO of CompLexity Gaming, the organization that Gjoka plays with.
“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,” Lake told CNN. “I think the e-sports industry as a whole is going to have to step back and take a look at further strengthening our security.”
The Madden NFL 19 Championship Series features a total prize pool of over $1.25 million. There was no word on how the shooting in Jacksonville might affect future events in the series. EA Sports tweeted a short statement following the incident.
“The tragic situation that occurred Sunday in Jacksonville was a senseless act of violence that we strongly condemn,” the statement read. “All of us at Electronic Arts are devastated by this horrific event, and we also join the community in thanking the first responders who were quickly on the scene.”