A gunfight this Sunday in a restaurant where a video game tournament was being played in Jacksonville (Florida) has left two fatalities. The attacker, identified as David Katz, a 24-year-old white man from Baltimore, Maryland, committed suicide at the scene of the crime, according to local sheriff Mike Williams.
The police chief said Katz was one of the participants in the competition and used at least one gun. He added that they have indications that he slept last night in a city hotel. He did not advance any hypotheses about the shooter’s motives. The shooting also left 11 wounded, nine with gunshot wounds.
The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m., local time, during a Madden NFL football video game tournament at a restaurant in a busy shopping mall. The event was being broadcast live on the Internet.
In a video that circulated through social networks, two players sit in front of the screen, relaxed and smiling, as the powerful and dry detonations of the shots begin to be heard, followed by the screams of the people. The broadcast is immediately cut off. Just before the shots start you can distinguish for an instant what looks like a laser point moving erratically on the chest of one of the players. During the shooting there were at least 13 shots.
One of the participants in the competition, Drini Gjoka, wrote on Twitter after the shooting. “I’m really lucky. A bullet grazed my thumb. Worst day of my life. Never again in my life will I take anything for granted. Life can vanish in a second. Another player, identified on Twitter as @DubDotDUBBY, wrote that he suffered a gunshot wound and was treated at the hospital.
Ambulances, police cars and firefighters arrived immediately and authorities blocked the environment and issued the alert that no one would approach. The police asked on Twitter that those who had hidden from the shootout in the shopping center call the emergency number to be rescued by special operations agents.
Jacksonville Landing Mall is located in the downtown business area of the city (about 900,000 inhabitants and located in northeast Florida), has about twenty restaurants and about seventy stores. Every year it receives thousands of visits from neighbors and tourists.
In the last three years Florida has been a recurrent point of atrocities related to solitary shooters. In June 2016, Omar Mateen, 29, a jihadist sympathizer, killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando and was shot down by police. In January 2017, Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran, left five dead and six wounded after suddenly opening fire at Fort Lauderdale airport; he was arrested and later sentenced to life in prison.
And on Feb 14, one of the worst shootings on record at a U.S. school took place when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz entered the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, from which he had been expelled, and killed 14 minors and three adults by shooting with an assault rifle. Shortly after the massacre, he was arrested in the school environment. The prosecutor in the case has announced that at trial he will ask for the death penalty for Cruz.
The most recent tragedy in the U.S. caused by a shooter occurred on June 28 in Annapolis (Maryland), where 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos broke into the newsroom of The Capital Gazette, murdered five employees and was detained without resistance. On May 18, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed 10 people at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.