Multiple deaths in shooting at video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida | News | DW | 27.08.2018
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Multiple deaths in shooting at video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida

Three people have died and 11 are wounded after a mass shooting broke out during a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. The lone suspect reportedly opened fire and took his own life after he was knocked out.

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'Multiple fatalities' in Florida mass shooting

Three people died in a mass shooting during a video game tournament at a waterfront shopping complex in the northern Florida city of Jacksonville, police said Sunday.

"There were three deceased individuals at the scene, one of those being the suspect, who took his own life," sheriff Mike Williams told a news conference.  

Nine people were shot and wounded and two others were injured fleeing the scene, Williams said.  All of the injured are being treated in the hospital and are in a stable condition.  

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The suspected shooter, who used at least one handgun, was identified as 24-year-old David Katz from Baltimore, Maryland. The victims were identified by local media as Eli Clayton, 21, from Woodland Hills, California, and Taylor Robertson, 27, of Ballard, West Virginia. All three were contestants and well-known eSports players of the Madden NFL video game.

According to witnesses, Katz became angry when he was defeated in the competition. It was not yet clear whether Katz knew or was directly targeting his victims.

Taylor Poindexter and her boyfriend Marquis Williams had traveled from Chicago to Florida to attend the tournament. She said she saw Katz take aim at his victims, before the couple fled the venue. "We did see him, two hands on the gun, walking back, just popping rounds," Poindexter told reporters. "I was scared for my life and my boyfriend's."

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Shooting livestreamed

The shooting occurred at a video game bar hosting a regional qualifier for the Madden 19 NFL video game tournament at The Landing entertainment and shopping complex. 

About a dozen gun shots could be heard on livestream footage of the popular American football video game before being cut off. In one scene, what appears to be a laser from a gun passes over the body of one of the video game players. 

Electronic Arts, the company that makes the video game, said: "This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved." 

The winner of the tournament was set to take home $5,000 (€4,293) and qualify for the national tournament sponsored by Electronic Arts, where finalists compete for a $165,000 grand prize.

What we know about the shooter

A fellow gamer told the AP news agency on Monday that he recalled Katz "being kind of different."

Shane Kivlen, the best friend of one of the slain gamers, said the shooter would refuse to talk much with his fellow competitors, either online or in person during tournaments. 

Kivlen added that Katz would rarely trash talked with rivals, but after winning a competition last year, he "got up and let out the weirdest scream ever."

In 2017, Katz had won the Madden 17 for the Buffalo Bills. The NFL team posted a picture of Katz on its Twitter last year.  

Josh Benson, an anchor with News Channel 8 in Tampa, shared a video of Katz doing an interview after a previous Madden win.

Late on Sunday, police and FBI agents raided Katz's upscale home in North Baltimore, while Florida authorities seized his parked vehicle near the scene of the shooting. 

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dm, cw/es (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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