A gunman opened fire on Sunday at an online video game tournament as it was being livestreamed from a Florida mall, killing two people and then fatally shooting himself in a rampage that wounded several others, authorities said.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said authorities believe 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore carried out the attack using at least one handgun at the Jacksonville Landing, a collection of restaurants and shops along the St. Johns River. Williams said the man died from a self-inflicted gunshot, adding final confirmation of the suspect’s identity was pending as the FBI in Baltimore aided in the investigation.
Nine other people were wounded by gunfire and all were in stable condition on Sunday evening after being taken to hospitals, Williams said. He added that two others were injured in the rush to flee the gunfire.
Katz was in Jacksonville for the “Madden NFL 19” video game tournament, authorities said. The games maker, EA Sports, lists a David Katz as a 2017 championship winner.
The competition was held in a gaming bar that shares space with a pizzeria. Viewers could watch the games online and see the players.
Investigators were looking into an online video that appeared to capture the scene right before the shooting began, Williams said. A red dot that appears to be a laser pointer is visible on the chest of a player seconds before the first of about a dozen gunshots rings out.
Marquis Williams, 28, and his girlfriend, Taylor Poindexter, 26, both from Chicago, were ordering pizza at the bar when they heard the first shot around 1:30pm on what had begun as a quiet Sunday afternoon.
“Initially we thought it was a balloon popping, but there weren’t any balloons in the room,” said Williams, who had taken part in the tournament earlier. “Then we heard repeat shots and we took off running.”
He added: “The first shot everybody just turned and looked. After the second, third and fourth shots, everybody took off and ran for the exits.”
Poindexter, an aspiring gamer, said she had gone to seek experience at the tournament. She never saw the face of the shooter, but added, “We did see him with two hands on a gun walking back just popping rounds.”
It was then, they said, that people trampled others in the panic to escape. Both ran to a nearby restaurant where workers were waving people inside. They hid in a bathroom until police arrived.