by Matthew Rolison
Two people lost their lives and 11 others were injured on Sunday, Aug. 26, when a competitor opened fire at a live Madden video game tournament at a mall in Jacksonville, Florida.
The victims were identified as Elijah Clayton, 22, and Taylor Robinson, 28. Both were competitive gamers competing in the tournament. The gunman was identified as 24-year-old David Kratz of Baltimore. He took his own life following the shooting. Kratz unleashed fire aimed at the gamers participating in the EA Sports Madden NFL 19 championship.
Kratz was also a competitor in the tournament, reportedly getting revenge after having lost games. It is unknown whether this was an attack out of rage towards the competitors or if there is more to the story.
The police arrived on the scene mere minutes after receiving the 911 call, according to Jacksonville authorities. They also said that the shooter had two firearms that he purchased legally before the tournament, but only fired one.
“[It] is mind blowing to me that someone could do that over something so simple as videogames,” Taylor Garron, sophomore athletic training major said.
There is footage circling the internet of the attack, with one video clearly showing a red laser pointed on one of the gamers which was attached to one of the triggers. These videos are graphic and screaming can be heard, all of which was being streamed live across the globe. Twitch took down the videos, but they can still be found elsewhere online.
“The fact that we can see the laser appear in one of the live streams and kids were watching should be enough for people to realize there is a problem,” Garron said. “I don’t know what the answer is, but one needs to be found before this keeps happening.”
It is also known that Kratz had been hospitalized for mental issues when he was younger and had been struggling with these issues for a great deal of time. According to Maryland court records, he was hospitalized twice in 2007 for his struggles with anxiety and depression.
Kaci Vansant, sophomore advertising major believes that more attention should be paid to mental health issues before more people are hurt.“Madden is just a video game,” Vansant said. “Mental health is not, but yet people fail to see the effects depression and anxiety can have on someone.”
EA Sports released a statement on Twitter following the shooting, offering their sympathies to all of the families. They also said how they are doing everything in their power to restore the faith people put in their company to provide them a safe environment.
The Jacksonville gaming event is part of the “Madden NFL 19 Championship Series” from EA Sports. Players were competing Sunday in the qualifying round to move onto the Round 16 held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in October.
The shooting has stirred up controversy across the country, as with any mass shooting. However, with this shooting taking place at a video game tournament it proves that gun violence is spreading to every facet of life.
Gun control has been a hot topic for years, and shootings like this bring even more attention to the issue. Yet the two opposing sides of gun control have not been able to reach a middle ground, with one side agreeing with the constitutional right to bear arms and the other side favoring heavy regulations.
“People are arguing over who is right and wrong while things like this mass shooting continue to happen and nothing changes,” Vansant said. “I just want to see some actual changes instead of just arguing back and forth.”
Matthew Rolison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org