CBS News August 27, 2018, 7:06 AM Jacksonville shooting survivor describes "most helpless feeling in the world"
An esports participant who lost during a Madden NFL 19 gaming tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, Sunday returned with a gun and fired shots into the crowd. Police said David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, killed two people and wounded nine others before shooting himself dead. CBS affiliate WJAX-TV identified the two who died as 22-year-old Eli Clayton and 27-year-old Taylor Robertson.
Tony Montagnino also competed in Sunday's tournament. The father of two was shot in his lower back and leg.
"I could never see his face because all I could see was the flash from the muzzle of the gun," Montagnino said.
"And then you knew it was gunshots," CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez said.
"And then I knew right away. Yeah," Montagnino replied.
"If you would have told me that I was going to get shot playing a video game, I would have called you a liar," Montagnino added. He said when the shooting started, he immediately dropped to the floor.
"My phone is on the ledge, you know, probably about 10 feet in front of me. And all I can think about is getting my phone so I can text some of my family," Montagnino said, choking up with emotion. "Just let them know, you know, that I care about them, and that's the most helpless feeling in the world."
When the shots first rang out, witnesses said they thought it was a firecracker or balloons popping. No one expected a shooter to turn up at a qualifying round for a video game tournament. Then panic set in and people were trampled rushing for the exits.
A livestream from the event shows what appears to be a red dot flash across one of the players' chests seconds before the first shots ring out. One witness described the "pop pop pop" sounds that "didn't stop."
The first 911 calls came in at 1:34 p.m. local time. Police rushed to the Jacksonville Landing mall.
"There were three deceased individuals at the scene. One of those being the suspect who took his own life," Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said.
The suspected shooter was identified as Katz, a one-time Madden tournament champion known by his gamer tag "Bread."
Katz lost in Sunday's tournament against Dennis Alston.
"I beat him and I went to shake his hand to tell him good game and he just looked at me and didn't say anything," Alston said.
EA Sports, the makers of the Madden videogame series, expressed condolences and called the shooting "a senseless act of violence that we strongly condemn." The NFL said it is "shocked and deeply saddened." All nine of the wounded are in stable condition.