Jacksonville shooting: Three dead in attack at video game tournament in Florida

Police say suspected shooter has been found dead at scene

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Sunday 26 August 2018 15:33 BST
Gunshots and screaming heard during Madden NFL livestream

More than a dozen people have been shot and two killed, after a gunman opened fire during the livestreaming of a new video game in Florida.

Police have named the suspect as 24-year-old David Katz from Baltimore, who also died at the scene - reportedly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Video of the incident in Jacksonville, showed a red laser dot dance across the chest of one of two young men playing the American Football Game, moments before the sound of gunshots was heard. The video of the players then cut out.

On the subsequent audio portion of the recording, one man could be heard shouting: “What the f*** are you shooting with?” As the sound of gunfire continued, one person wrote in the comment stream: “Run run run run run pass run run run.”

On Sunday afternoon Jacksonville police confirmed “multiple casualties” had been found deceased at the scene of the shooting, a regional qualifier for the Madden 19 online game tournament being held at the GLHF Game Bar inside a Chicago Pizza restaurant.

“We have no outstanding suspects at this time. No outstanding suspects,” Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said, while declining to give a specific number of victims. “We have one suspect in this case. He is deceased at the scene.”

Mr Williams said the suspect was a white male but refused to immediately provide further information about his identity or motive. The Los Angeles Times quoted one of the competitors, Steven “Steveyj” Javaruski, as saying the shooter was someone who had previously lost a game.

He said the the shooter “targeted a few people” and shot at least five victims before killing himself.

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One individual taking part in the tournament in the city’s Jackson Landing waterfront district, Drini Gjoka, said he was at the event and was hit in the thumb, when shots rang out some time around 1400 local time [1800 GMT].

“Worst day of my life,” Mr Gjoka wrote on Twitter. “I will never take anything for granted ever again. Life can be cut short in a second.”

Police initially confirmed a mass shooting on social media.

“Mass shooting at the Jacksonville Landing. Stay far away from the area. The area is not safe at this time,” the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department tweeted. “We can’t stress enough to stay away. Many blocks away.”

A few minutes later, the police said there were multiple fatalities at the location that “many” other victims had been transported away for treatment.

“One suspect is dead at the scene, unknown at this time if we have a second suspect. Searches are being conducted,” it added.

On an online stream of the Madden event posted to the website Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, people could he heard shouting against the backdrop of rapid gunfire

The Associated Press said local news footage showed several ambulances, as well as firefighters and police officers, on the scene, as well as roads being blocked off in the downtown area.

The New York Times said Sujeil Lopez was at home in the Tampa Bay area, in Florida, when she got a call that her 25-year-old son, who goes by Larry, had been shot.

“I have to get to him. I am four hours away from him and I have to get to my son,” Ms Lopez said. “He was shot three times, once on the nipple, once on his hand and somewhere else.”

She said she did not know the condition of her son, a professional video game player for the Bucks Gaming team.

The Florida shooting took place amid an ongoing debate about US gun laws that was given fresh impetus by the massacre in February of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Two years ago a gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

A spokesman for Jacksonville’s Memorial Hospital, Peter Moberg, said it was treating three victims, all of whom were in a stable condition. Meanwhile, the city’s UF Health Hospital said it was treating six people, one of whom was in a serious condition. One person was being treated at the city’s Baptist Medical Centre.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican who is challenging longtime Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in November’s election, said he had offered to provide local authorities with any state resources they might need.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio said both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were coordinating with local authorities to provide assistance.

President Donald Trump has been briefed and is monitoring the situation in Jacksonville, the White House said.

Reacting to news of the shooting during the tournament involving its video game, Madden 19 maker Electronic Arts Inc said it was working with authorities to gather facts.

“This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved,” the company said on Twitter.

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