Jacksonville Police Chief Mike Williams said that a 24-year-old Maryland man opened fire in the middle of a video game session at a waterfront mall in Jacksonville, killing two people and wounding 11 others, then killing himself, in a chaotic scene in A place synonymous with it. downtown.
The shooting, which occurred at around 1:30 p.m., was related to the Madden NFL 19 video game tournament at Chicago Pizza in Jacksonville Landing. Williams said David Katz, from Baltimore, was the only suspect, as he used “at least one pistol” against the victims and himself. He would not confirm the motive for the killing, although a witness said the motive behind the shooting was because Katz lost the championship.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives visited Katz’s speech in Baltimore and seized his car.
Mayor Lenny Carey said, “We had a very popular event.” “In troubled times, we see the best in people, and today is no different.”
That attracted players from across the country to Jacksonville to compete for a place in a 16-player competition in Las Vegas – it was featured on a live video game streaming service called Twitch, which captured what looked like gunshots and screams in the background of the game play. These images and sounds captivated local and national media and became a source of information for friends and families of the victims before the police could confirm any details. Williams said investigators had seen the Twitch video.
At one point in the video, someone can be heard saying, “Oh, what am I called?”
The tournament featured professional players, some of whom described the frightening scene and their injuries on Twitter. Drini Jouka, one of those players, said that a bullet hit his thumb.
“It was just shot. I left and never came back,” he wrote.
About 20 minutes later he wrote: “The worst day of my life.”
Jason Lake, the founder and CEO of compLexity Gaming, a professional gaming company that Gjoka was a member of, said he was “cooperating with the authorities and we will kick him out of Jacksonville as soon as we get the green light from officials on the ground.”
The accident propelled Jacksonville into a troubled membership of cities that were hit by mass shootings during events that were supposed to be about entertainment.
Officials at UF Health Jacksonville, the largest trauma hospital in the area, said they had treated six victims, ages 20 to 35, with one of the victims in critical condition. Some were injured in the torso, and others were injured in the ankle or wrist. Other hospitals have patients, too.
“I heard a lot of gunshots from back to back,” said Roma Williams, who was landing when the shooting started.
Governor Rick Scott spoke with President Donald Trump about the incident and traveled from Naples to Jacksonville Sunday evening.
The shooting sparked a flurry of anxiety and comments from officials and candidates vying for positions in Florida from local races to the US Senate. Both Republicans running for governor canceled scheduled appearances in Jacksonville on Monday, while each of the five Democrats highlighted the need for elected officials to take measures to curb armed violence.
It was also a major disruption on a really violent weekend. Friday night’s triple shooting at a Lee vs. Renes High School football match – a well-known competition – killed the 19-year-old former Raines student and injured two others currently attending Raines and Lee.
About three blocks were cordoned off around the landing zone on Sunday in the hours after the shooting. A police helicopter flew in the air, and Coast Guard boats patrolled the St. Johns River near the landing. At one point, it appears that the SWAT unit was operating a robot booby-trapped on the sidewalk outside a nearby garage, although it was not clear why.
Several Jacksonville Fire and Rescue members were running a cross-street training exercise from Landing when they saw people running outside the building, including one who had been shot. Four responders rushed without protective gear. The officials added that the police responded within two minutes of the first call to 911.
Michael Barlow was training on the riverwalk outside of Landing when he heard a siren approaching.
“We saw a group of people being taken on stretchers,” Barlow said. “I saw four people on stretchers and then two other men carrying them. They weren’t on stretchers, they were just carried.”
The waterfront mall still has a handful of restaurants, including Hooters and Chicago Pizza, and concerts and political rallies occasionally take place in the outdoor wing facing the St. Johns River. City officials and boosters have been eager for years to replace or drastically renovate the Landing, but these efforts have so far proved futile and have left City Hall and the building’s owners caught in a controversial court battle.
The city owns the land on which the buildings are located. Tony Suleiman, an outspoken longtime partner owner of landing buildings, did not respond to a voicemail he left on his mobile phone.
“We are deeply saddened by the incident and pray for all those involved. Jacksonville Landing is cooperating fully with the Sheriff Jacksonville office and all ongoing investigations,” Soliman and his company said in a statement.