Ronald Casey, 30, threw himself on top of two younger players at the tournament on Sunday when the shots began
The heroic acts of people at the Jacksonville shooting who used their bodies to try to shield younger players from the loser gamer gunman on Sunday have emerged.
When gunman David Katz opened fire with a handgun after being knocked out of the Madden 19 tournament on Sunday at 1.30pm, most of the players were ‘trapped’ in the back of the GLHF sports bar they had been playing in with no escape.
Ronald Casey, who plays under the name Sirus The Virus, registered what was happening before some of the younger boys in the room from the smell coming from Katz’s hail of bullets.
Instinctively, the 30-year-old threw himself on top of 25-year-old Matt Clark and 18-year-old Joel Crooms Porter to protect them.
‘I’m 6’3” and 360 pounds. I figured, if the gunman is going to come into our small area, he’ll have to shoot through me to get to them,’ Casey told The New York Daily News on Monday.
He forced the younger boy’s head down, keeping him out of the firing line, and watched as Katz, who had been behaving strangely all weekend, peppered the crowd of 60 with bullets.
‘I remember jumping on top of Joel and making sure his head was down.
Casey threw himself on top of Matt Clark, 25, (left) and Joel Crooms Porter, 18, (right). They both survived
Croom Porter’s mother thanked Casey for saving her son’s life on Twitter on Sunday
‘I couldn’t close my eyes. I just couldn’t,’ he said.
In a separate interview, he told Fox’s 45 it was ‘horrible’ there was no security at the event and that they were helpless because of it.
‘The fact we had no security is horrible. We were in a room but it wasn’t big.
‘Thankfully it wasn’t an automatic weapon. If it was an automatic weapon like some of these other school’s shootings and stuff, we all would have been done.
‘We were trapped,’ he said.
George Amadeo, 52, had accompanied his teenage son George to Florida from their home in New Jersey. He jumped on George Jr. (right) when the shooting began. The player was shot in the foot but is expected to make a full recovery
Crooms-Porter tweeted his appreciation for the gesture on Sunday. He said: ‘Love to SirusTheVirusTV for covering me.’
His mother responded with similar praise, writing: ‘I can’t begin to thank you for covering my child.’
Another person who has been hailed a hero is George Amadeo, 52, a New Jersey father who had accompanied his teenage son to the tournament.
When the first bullets rang out, he covered his son, George ‘Fitzmagic13’ Amadeo, so that he wouldn’t get hurt.
‘I was about 5 feet away from the shooter and my dad jumped on me… he didn’t get shot,’ George tweeted after the shooting.
He was shot in the foot and underwent surgery to remove the bullet afterwards but is expected to make a full recovery.
Eli Clayton, 22, and Taylor Robertson, 27, were both killed in the shooting
The survivors are now raising money to help the families of the two victims who did not make it out alive.
David, 24, shot two people dead, wounded 11 and then killed himself after losing at the Madden NFL 19 Classic qualifying tournament in Florida
Eli Clayton, 22, and Taylor Robertson, 27, were both killed before Katz turned the gun on himself.
A GoFundMe page set up to aid the victims’ families has raised around $20,000 of their $100,000 target.
Katz was described by the other players as a ‘off’ and reclusive.
Many said he was well known on the circuit but that he kept himself to himself and did not mingle.
On Sunday, he had been knocked out of the high stakes tournament by Wesley Gittens who plays under the name Joe Rice.
Katz lived with his father in Baltimore, Maryland. He had a history of mental illness and instability and had been hospitalized as a teenager.
His parents divorced in 2005, six years before he graduated high school. He struggled to keep up in college, where he studied environmental studies and technology, and had not been to classes for years.