SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts

Two killed in shooting at Jacksonville video game tournament

Ryen Aleman was engrossed in the virtual world, focused on the video game in front of him, when he realized ...

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 4:36 PM
Updated: Aug 28, 2018 4:36 PM

Ryen Aleman was engrossed in the virtual world, focused on the video game in front of him, when he realized the gunshots he was hearing were real. He ducked and bolted for a restroom to take cover.

Another mass shooting was unfolding in Florida, this time at a tournament for competitive players of the football video game, Madden, in Jacksonville. The winners would go on to a higher level tournament in Las Vegas in October, where large cash prizes could be won.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Computer science and information technology

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Florida

Jacksonville

North America

Shootings

Software and applications

Southeastern United States

Technology

The Americas

United States

Video games

Homicide

Mass murder

Murder

2018 Jacksonville gaming tournament shooting

Firearms

Weapons and arms

Gabrielle Giffords

Political Figures - US

Society

Violence in society

2018 Parkland school shooting

School violence

Participants had gathered at the Jacksonville Landing Complex, an open-air marketplace with stores, bars and restaurants along the St. Johns River.

David Katz, a 24-year-old gamer from Baltimore, Maryland, was in Jacksonville for the tournament at GLHF Game Bar, in the back of a pizza restaurant. On Sunday, he brought a gun into the venue and opened fire, killing two people. Then he turned the gun on himself, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said. Police have not released a possible motive.

Katz used at least one handgun in the shooting, the sheriff said. Nine other people suffered gunshot wounds and two people were injured fleeing the area, Williams said. The victims were all in stable condition at local hospitals, the sheriff said.

The horror that unfolded was captured on an online stream of the event, posted the website Twitch. The game abruptly stopped after several shots were heard.

People screamed. One person cried out, "Oh f**, what'd he shoot me with?"

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., 911 calls started pouring in about a shooting, according to Williams. Officers were on the scene within two minutes.

Aleman said he huddled in the bathroom for 10 minutes and ran from the scene.

"I'm still shocked, I can hardly talk," he told CNN.

Firefighters to the rescue

Seven members of the Jacksonville Fire Station 1 -- known as "The Rock" -- were doing routine training in a parking garage across the street from the Landing, when dozens of people came running out, said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters.

One person pulled up their shirt, showing where they had been shot in the chest, Wyse said. A second person with gunshot wounds followed shortly behind them.

As four firefighters administered first aid, three others ran toward the Landing, Wyse said, and flagged down a police officer.

They started treating victims and found the three dead bodies, including Katz's body.

Hours after he committed suicide, authorities said, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI and Baltimore Police searched Katz's family home in Baltimore.

'I'm one of the better players'

Katz went by the gaming naming "Bread" and previously won Madden tournaments in 2017, multiple gamers told CNN.

In February 2017, the Buffalo Bills tweeted out a picture of him after he won the Madden 17 Bills Championship. "Congrats to David Katz, the Madden 17 Bills Championship winner! Thanks for following along, Bills fans," the tweet read.

In an interview after the win with former Buffalos Bills player Steve Tasker, Katz talked about his prowess.

"I think personally I'm one of the better players," he said.

Another mass shooting in Florida

Florida has seen several mass shootings in recent years: a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland earlier this year; five people were gunned down at the Fort Lauderdale airport last year; and 49 were shot dead at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016.

"We have got to change," Gov. Rick Scott told reporters Sunday night. "We've got to really stop and say to ourselves: there's something wrong."

"Why are young men willing to give up their life, or why don't they value somebody else's life?" he said. "We've got to figure this out."

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting, said the nation's attention turns to Florida, again.

"The nation once again looks to Florida with grief and heavy hearts," Giffords, who co-founded a gun violence prevention organization, said in a statement.

"The massacre in Jacksonville is a tragic reminder of the threats we face from gun violence, no matter who we are or where our day takes us," said Giffords. "And it's yet another devastating indictment of this country's inability to keep our kids safe."

EA Sports, a video game developer and publisher, condemned the shooting as "a senseless act of violence."

CompLexity Gaming founder and CEO Jason Lake told CNN that the shooting may make the growing eSports industry reconsider security at events.

One of the company's gamers, a 19-year-old who goes by Drini, was shot in the thumb but managed to escape and is going to be fine, Lake said.

"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," he said. "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."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 252895

Reported Deaths: 6334
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1078263457
Riverside19450479
Orange16191363
San Diego15696387
San Bernardino13676269
Imperial7039114
Alameda6556140
Fresno585177
Kern513081
Santa Clara5077160
Tulare4627136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento400469
San Francisco377650
Contra Costa356481
San Mateo3536108
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Marin271921
Kings260032
Stanislaus253144
Monterey191515
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer82811
San Luis Obispo7012
Yolo61325
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4553
Napa3764
San Benito2652
Sutter2433
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1484
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Glenn1220
Yuba1061
Tehama881
Lake870
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono451
Tuolumne430
Inyo331
Amador310
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
87° wxIcon
Hi: 99° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 87°
Oroville
87° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 87°
Paradise
87° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 87°
Chester
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 77°
Red Bluff
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 93°
Willows
87° wxIcon
Hi: 101° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 87°
Today was hot and tomorrow will be as well. But slightly below average temperatures move in as we see a dip in the jet stream.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events