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Gunman Kills 2 People, Himself, At 'Madden NFL 19' Tournament

“Initially we thought it was a balloon popping, but there weren’t any balloons in the room. Then we heard repeat shots and we took off running,” one witness said.

By Ethan Harfenist

A video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, turned into a real-life bloodbath on Sunday, after a gunman opened fire and fatally shot two people, and himself, as the event was being livestreamed from a mall, according to police and multiple reports. Several other people were wounded in the incident, as well.

Authorities identified the shooting suspect as David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, according to the Associated Press. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said that Katz used at least one handgun during his rampage at the Jacksonville Landing Complex. He was in town for the “Madden NFL 19” tournament, authorities said, which was being hosted at the GLHF Game Bar-pizzeria.

As viewers watched the players and their games unfolding online, Katz started spraying bullets. Some players using the popular streaming app Twitch during the tourney captured the horror in real-time: In videos of the scene, shots can be clearly heard ringing out, as people scream in terror and glass shatters around them.

Chicago resident Marquis Williams, 28, told the AP that he and his girlfriend were ordering pizza when they heard shots around 1:30 p.m.

“Initially we thought it was a balloon popping, but there weren’t any balloons in the room. Then we heard repeat shots and we took off running,” said Williams, who participated in the tournament before the carnage. “The first shot everybody just turned and looked. After the second, third, and fourth shots, everybody took off and ran for the exits.”

Although the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has not identified the two victims in Sunday’s attack, members of the gaming community, and others, have circulated their names widely on social media.

Eli “Trueboy” Clayton, was identified by his former football team at Calabasas High School in California, CNN reports. The other victim, Taylor “SpotMePlzzz” Robertson, was identified by his gaming sponsor, Dot City Gaming, who mourned both victims in a two-part tweet.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless violence in Jacksonville and the tragic deaths of Dot City Gaming team member, Taylor “SpotMePlzzz” Robertson, and Eli “Trueboy” Clayton,” Dot City tweeted. “They were great competitors and well-loved members of the Madden community. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to their families, loved ones, and all of those affected by this tragedy.”

Drini Gjoka, a member of compLexity Gaming, said on Twitter that, “I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb…Worst day of my life.”

FBI agents on Sunday evening swarmed the Baltimore townhouse belonging to the father of the man suspected of carrying out the shooting, the AP reports. Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith told the AP that the FBI was helping law enforcement “with some information that has led authorities to Baltimore.”

Katz is listed by “Madden 19” creator EA Sports as a 2017 champion, the AP reports. The New York Post published footage of the tournament he won, showing him playfully trash talking his opponent. The footage looks similar to the videos posted from the Jacksonville tourney—minus the sound of life-ruining gunfire in the background.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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