Orlando-based attorneys of Morgan & Morgan announced on Tuesday during a press conference from their Jacksonville office that they plan to file the first lawsuit on behalf of victims of the Jacksonville gamer shooting this week; David Katz, 24 (above, at last year’s tournament), killed two contestants and left 11 people injured before taking his own life in a shooting at the Jacksonville Landing complex in Jacksonville, Florida at around 1.34pm on Sunday
On Tuesday, Lawyers said they will file the first lawsuit brought by physically and emotionally wounded victims of a Florida shooting that left three dead, including the shooter, at a video game competition on Sunday.
David Katz, 24, killed two contestants and left 11 people injured before taking his own life in a shooting at the Jacksonville Landing complex in Jacksonville, Florida at around 1.34pm on Sunday, police said.
According to friends in the gaming community, the two men whom Katz killed in the ‘Madden NFL 19’ tournament were Taylor ‘SpotMePlzzz’ Robertson, 27, of Ballard, West Virginia and Eli ‘Trueboy’ Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, California.
Attorneys Matt and Tim Morgan, along with James Young of the Orlando-based Morgan & Morgan law firm, said on Tuesday that they believe the tragedy was preventable, during a press conference at their Jacksonville office.
‘This is not a time in America for bare bones security, or even worse, no security at all,’ Matt Morgan said.
‘Business as usual on the security front will no longer be tolerated by Americans. We must demand more from business owners, event organizers, and police.’
The negligent security lawsuit is expected to be filed on Wednesday on behalf of multiple yet-unnamed plaintiffs, at least one of whom suffered multiple gunshot wounds, Morgan said.
‘Every hour that ticks by there are more people calling us,’ he said.
The carnage at the video game tournament, hosted by EA Sports, was partially captured on a horrifying livestream.
Eli ‘Trueboy’ Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, California was killed in the shooting, friends said; He is seen above in a previous Madden tournament
Taylor Robertson, 27 (left), was also killed in the shooting; He was married and father to a young son, and had won 13 out of his 18 prior matches in Madden NFL tournaments, according to EA Sports; He’s seen here with his wife and child
Morgan spoke of the duty of care owed to individuals who attend events, by business owners, event organizers and police, but declined to name the anticipated defendants in the forthcoming state lawsuit.
The shooting occurred at the Good Luck Have Fun video game room. GLHF is a venue attached to Chicago Pizza, a restaurant inside the Jacksonville Landing shopping complex. The Madden NFL 19 event was organized by EA Sports.
‘On Sunday, lives were lost and forever changed. What started as an ordinary day quickly turned into a living nightmare for all involved,’ he said.
‘It is a scary and terrifying time for Americans. It seems like every time we turn on the news there’s another reporting of another mass shooting. It is incresingly important for business owners and event organizers to provide the highest level of security.’
‘The safety of aAmricans should always come before any cost consideration for businesses and event oganizrers,’ he added.
‘The highest level of security should have been present at the Landing tournament. This particular area, The Landing, has had a shooting as recent as 2017.’
Morgan spoke of the duty of care owed to individuals who attend events, by business owners, event organizers and police, but declined to name the anticipated defendants in the forthcoming state lawsuit
Morgan referenced the building that houses his law firm, which is across the street from the landing, and was recently damaged by gunfire.
‘The duck tape on the shattered window remained,’ he said, at the time of the Landing shooting on Sunday.
Now, widespread digital and real-world communities are mourning the loss of two men who were senselessly killed while playing a game.
Robertson was married and father to a young son, and had won 13 out of his 18 prior matches in Madden NFL tournaments, according to EA Sports. Clayton was a rising star in the Madden community.
Police have not yet confirmed the identities of the deceased victims. Local media, including the Miami Herald and ActionNewsJax, have named Robertson and Clayton as the deceased victims, after members of the Madden gaming community posted numerous online tributes.
An official close to the investigation said that the gunman killed himself with the semi-auto handgun used in the shooting, which had a laser sight.
A livestream of the tournament caught the chilling moment that a laser landed on Clayton’s chest before shots rang out.
A red dot (circled) that appeared to be from a laser pointer was seen on Clayton’s chest in a livestream, shortly before the camera cut away, and gunshots and screams were heard
Members of the Madden community say that Clayton (left) and Robertson (right with wife and son) were the two people killed in Katz’s suicidal shooting rampage
Police are seen at the scene of the shooting in Jacksonville after night fell on Sunday
Nine of the non-fatal injuries were gunshot wounds and two were sustained while fleeing the chaos, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said.
Jacksonville Madden NFL shooting timeline
Saturday, August 25: David Katz, from Baltimore, arrives at the Madden 19 regional tournament in Jacksonville.
Sunday, August 26: Katz returns for the second day of the tournament wearing the same clothes as Saturday, and acting ‘weird’, a witness says. He is eliminated and returns with a gun.
1.34pm, August 26: The first 911 calls come in reporting gunshots in Jacksonville Landing.
1.36pm: The first officers arrive on the scene. They find three dead, including Katz, who is identified as the shooter.
4.30pm: SWAT teams finish clearing the shopping center.
Florida Governor Rick Scott visited several of the injured on Sunday night, including Timothy ‘OLarry2k’ Anselimo, who was expected to recover after being shot in the chest and hand.
Williams said that Katz was from Baltimore and had traveled to Jacksonville for the Madden 19 video game tournament. His car was seized by police near the scene.
About 150 gamers competed in the competition for a $5,000 prize. The winner was set to go on to a finals tournament in Las Vegas with a $125,000 prize.
One of the gamers to defeat Katz in the tournament told ActionNewsJax that Katz was acting ‘weird’ on Sunday and wearing the same clothes he wore the day prior, on the first day of the tournament.
The gamer said that when he beat Katz on Saturday in the group round, he tried to shake his hand, but that Katz just stared back at him blankly.
Florida Governor Rick Scott (center) is seen visiting one of the wounded victims, Timothy Anselimo aka OLarry2k, in the hospital on Sunday as he recovers from being shot
Anselimo’s mother posted this photo from the hospital showing his bloodied backpack
Another injured victim, who plays under the name Fitzmagic, posted this update on Twitter
Another witness to the shooting, Javarius Long, told the Tampa Bay Times that the shooter was acting ‘nerdy’.
Long said that Katz got mad after losing in the elimination round on Sunday, left the venue presumably to retrieve the gun from his car, and came back and started ‘blasting everybody’.
Katz is known to have gone by the gamer monikers ‘RavensChamp’, ‘Bread’ and ‘TREXHAVAHARTATAK’.
In February 2017, he won the Madden 17 Bills Club Championship in Buffalo, New York.
An announcer for one of the gaming tournaments Katz previously played in described him thus: ‘He is not here to make friends. He’s all business, he’s focused, and to even get him to open up to talk to you about anything – it’s like pulling teeth, man.’
After defeating the number two seed 41-7 in the Bills Madden Club Round, Katz told a reporter: ‘I don’t think of myself as a 7th seed.
‘I think personally, I’m one of the better players – and I like to let my game prove that.’
He added: ‘I understand the game really well. My opponent probably should’ve called his timeouts… I took advantage that he didn’t.’
According to the New York Post, he won $10,000 at the Buffalo Bills Madden Club tournament, but lost in the quarter-finals in California.
When asked if he was nervous during the game in Buffalo, he added: ‘Honestly, I felt like I had the ball most of the game. I wasn’t really doing too much on defense.’
As a child, Katz had ‘significant healthcare needs’, according to court records in his parents’ divorce.
At the time of the 2014 court filing, the shooter’s father worked for NASA, and his mother, who has a PhD in toxicology, worked for the US Food and Drug Administration.
Katz (right) is seen in February 2017 at the Madden 17 Bills Championship, which he won. Police said he is from Baltimore and was in Jacksonville for Madden 19
Katz (above) is known to have gone by the gamer monikers ‘Bread’ and RavensChamp’
An announcer once said of Katz (above): ‘To even get him to open up to talk to you about anything – it’s like pulling teeth’
The shooting on Sunday broke out during the Madden NFL 19 Classic regional qualifying tournament at the Good Luck Have Fun video game room.
The video game venue is attached to Chicago Pizza, a restaurant inside the Jacksonville Landing shopping complex that sits on the north bank of the St John’s River.
In a livestream of the tournament, Clayton is seen with a dot that appears to be a laser pointer dancing on his chest and neck.
As the live video shot cuts to the action on the virtual football field, gunshots and chilling screams can be heard in the background.
The commentators can be heard going silent as the first gunshots are fired and people begin screaming.
The stream then cuts off and a message appears saying ‘controller disconnected’.
WARNING: GRAPHIC AUDIO
Players are seen in the tournament moments before gunshots and screams are heard, with the live video cutting out abruptly and displaying the message ‘controller disconnected’
A livestream from the gaming tournament captured the moment the gunfire broke out before it cut out and displayed a ‘controller disconnected’ message
The shooting broke out during the Madden football online gaming tournament at Florida ‘s Jacksonville Landing (above) on Sunday afternoon
Police investigate the scene of a multiple shooting at the Jacksonville Landing on Sunday
Taylor Poindexter speaks to reporters after witnessing a gunman open fire on a video game tournament. She sprained her ankle while fleeing from the gunfire with her boyfriend
EA Sports said in a statement: ‘The tragic situation that occurred Sunday in Jacksonville was a senseless act of violence that we strongly condemn.
‘Our most heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of the victims whose lives were taken today and those who were injured. All of us at Electronic Arts are devastated by this horrific event, and we also join the community in thanking the first responders who were quickly on the scene. Our focus right now is on those affected, and supporting law enforcement as they continue their investigation into this crime.’
One witness told CNN he saw the gunman shoot multiple people before killing himself and that it appeared he had a laser sight on the gun to help him target victims.
Police arrived on the scene within two minutes of receiving the first 911 calls at 1.34pm, Sheriff Williams said.
Witnesses said people trampled each other while fleeing the gunfire.
Marquis Williams, 20, says he and his girlfriend, Taylor Poindexter, both from Chicago, were ordering pizza close by when shots erupted. He said on Sunday that he didn’t think it was gunfire at first.
Says Williams: ‘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.’
Law enforcement boats patrol the St. Johns River at the scene of a multiple shooting at the Jacksonville Landing Sunday on Sunday
Williams had participated earlier Sunday in the Madden gaming tournament. He says he got a view of the back of the shooter in a green shirt.
He describes people running in the panic to escape. He says it was then that he scuffed his leg and that Poindexter was treated at a hospital for a sprained ankle.
They later returned, hoping to retrieve her cell phone, but by then the scene was cordoned off by authorities.
One of the gamers in the tournament, Drini Gjoka, revealed his horror after he was shot in the hand and ran for his life.
‘The tourney just got shot up. I’m leaving and never coming back. I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb. Worst day of my life,’ he tweeted.
‘I will never take anything for granted ever again. Life can be cut short in a second.’
One gamer, Timothy Anselimo, was shot three times in his chest and hand. His mother tweeted: ‘My son was shot 3 times please keep him in your prayers’.
‘@oLARRY2K was shot in chest and hand I was with him. I have his bag and phone. Plz retweet this to notify 2k community. He is at Florida Shands hospital. didn’t look life threatening to me but injured bad. I love you bro,’ fellow gamer BUCTILLIDIE tweeted.
Another witness, Ryan Alemon, told CNN he hid in the bathroom for about 10 minutes before fleeing the bar when he was certain the shooting was over.
‘Everyone was running, they were dropping because they were getting shot. I heard yelling, I heard ‘Help me, I’m shot’,’ he said.
‘As I was going in the restroom, I stayed in there, and I just heard – there was just so many gunshots, at least 20 of them at the most.’
For several hours after the shooting, officers worked finding people hiding in the area and urged people to remain calm, as they warned others to stay far away from the Jacksonville Landing.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, right, holds a news conference on Sunday after a gunman opened fire during an online video game tournament in a Florida mall
Many hid in bathrooms of the Jacksonville Landing complex, trying to escape the carnage.
‘We are finding many people hiding in locked areas at The Landing,’ the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tweeted.
‘We ask you to stay calm, stay where you are hiding. SWAT is doing a methodical search inside The Landing.
‘We will get to you. Please don’t come running out.’
By about 4.30pm, SWAT teams had cleared the Jacksonville Landing of potential victims and witnesses.
Multiple emergency crews were spotted on the scene and police barricaded a three-block radius around the mall.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry urged residents to avoid downtown on Sunday evening to allow police operations to proceed.
The shooting on Sunday follows close on the heels of another public shooting in Jacksonville, at a high school football game on Friday night, in which one was killed and two were injured.
The shooter in that incident, described only as a lone black male, is still at large and being sought by police.
Sunday’s shooting struck a nerve with many in Florida, where the memory of the February school shooting in Parkland, where 17 died, is still raw.
Ahead of November’s midterm elections, in which Floridians will choose a governor alongside their House representatives and one Senator, the conversation quickly turned political in the wake of the shooting.
‘Too many lives are destroyed, while leaders take no action. It’s time for new leaders,’ tweeted Phillip Levine, the former mayor of Miami and one of the Democrat challengers hoping to unseat Republican Governor Scott.
Scott signed gun-control legislation after the Parkland shooting, including raising the age to buy a long gun to 21.
‘We have got to change, we’ve got to really stop and say to ourselves, ‘There’s something wrong,” the governor told reporters after visiting hospitalized victims of the shootings. ‘Why are young men willing to give up their lives? Or why don’t they value somebody else’s life? We’ve got to figure this out. We don’t ever want this to happen again.’
Morgan said the goal of the impending lawsuit is to ‘have business owners and event organizers take a second look at security procedures.’
‘We will be filing this week to hold all responsible entities accountable for what we believe to preventable and tragic occurrence,’ he said.
Morgan noted that he was pleased that future Madden NFL 19 tournaments had reportedly been canceled as security protocol is being examined, calling it a ‘step in the right direction.’
‘This event could have and should have been prevented, had there been the proper safety measures,’ Morgan said.
‘Events, places of business and populated areas must be protected.’
Over the past two days, the number of victims injured by the shooting that have sought representation from Morgan & Morgan has apparently grown.
‘We have been retained by a victim of the Jacksonville Landing gaming tournament shooting,’ Morgan tweeted on Monday.
‘We are of the opinion this shooting could have, and should have, been prevented. Prayers to all those impacted by this senseless tragedy.’
Now, the lawsuit will include individuals injured both physically and emotionally, Morgan said on Tuesday.
The Jacksonville Landing is an entertainment complex along the St Johns River, which includes restaurants and an indoor shopping mall.
A Jacksonville Sheriff crime scene unit van is seen as law enforcement investigates a shooting at the GLHF Game Bar attached to the Chicago Pizza place (seen behind the van)
A man holds a sign in support of gun control outside of The Jacksonville Landing after a shooting in Jacksonville on Sunday