Jacksonville mass shooting sparks calls for stricter eSports security



A witness describes the scene of the Jacksonville Landing shooting

Madden tournament gamer describes what he saw after a shot is fired in Jacksonville, Florida event.

The deadly shooting during a Madden 19 NFL tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, Sunday has prompted calls for better security on professional video gaming events.

The shooter killed two people and then fatally shot himself in a rampage that wounded several others. The authorities believe that the 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore carried out the attack with at least one gun at the Jacksonville Landing, a collection of restaurants and shops along the St. Johns River. Katz is believed to have fired at the Chicago Pizza restaurant and bar, according to Sheriff Mike Williams.

Professional video gaming, or eSports, is a rapidly growing industry where players compete against each other for lucrative prizes, often in front of a large audience. The events also have a huge following online through streaming platforms such as twitch and YouTube.

Sunday the tournament was held in the GLHF Game Bar, which is next to Chicago Pizza and shares a door with the restaurant, according to its website. Gamers were to take part in a qualifier for the Madden NFL 19 Classic in Las Vegas in October. On the Madden Classic Live-Final, competitors will play for a share of the tournament’s $165,000 prize pool, with the winner taking home $ 25,000, according to game developer EA Sports. Both the Madden Classic winner and runner-up earn a place in this season’s Madden Bowl event in April 2019.

The tournament has just shot up. Im leavinng and never come back

— Drini Gjoka (@YoungDrini) August 26, 2018

Professional gaming team complexity had a player at the Jacksonville event. Jason Lake, founder and CEO of complexity, said on Twitter that the 19-year-old Drini Gjoka, was shot in the thumb.

More told CNN that the deadly Jacksonville shooting can have a big impact on safety in the future eSports events.

“Sad day and a WAKE UP CALL for the organizers of small and large,” he tweeted.

Gjoka tweeted: “The tournament has just shot up. Im leavinng and never come back.” Then: “I am literally so happy. The bullet hit my thumb. Worst day of my life.”

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