EA Cancels Madden Qualifier Events Following Jacksonville Shooting

Chicago Pizza

EA has cancelled the three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events in the wake of the Jacksonville shooting.

Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA, announced the news in a statement released yesterday (August 27) which read: “While these qualifying events are operated independently by partners, we work with them to ensure competitive integrity and to gather feedback from players.

“We have made a decision to cancel our three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events while we run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators. We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events.”

The event was a qualifying tournament for the Madden Classic, the gaming company’s first Madden EA Major competition of the season. Winners of the qualifying event would go on the Madden Classic tournament in Las Vegas in which players compete for a cash prize of $165, 000.

The Shooting

Gunman David Katz, 24, killed two and injured 11 others before turning the gun on himself. The incident occurred at the GLHF Game Bar inside a Chicago Pizza restaurant at the Jacksonville Landing, a waterfront entertainment, shopping and dining site in the city’s downtown area in Florida.

Taylor Robertson, 28, and Elijah Clayton, 22, were the two “respected, positive and skilled competitors” who died during the shooting, which was partially captured on a livestream of the event being broadcast on Twitch.

In the video, players can be seen reacting to the gunfire and cries can be heard off-screen before the footage is cut off. Before the shots are heard, a red laser dot appeared on Clayton’s chest. the chest of one of the players who was shown wearing a red sweatshirt and white headphones.

Seven members of the Jacksonville Fire Station 1 were doing routine training in a parking garage across the street from the restaurant when dozens of people came running out. One person allegedly pulled up their shirt, revealing they had been shot in the chest. A second person with gunshot wounds following them.

Four firefighters administered first aid, three others ran towards the Landing and flagged down a police officer. They then started treating victims and found the three dead bodies.

According to The Telegraph, nine victims were transported to hospitals by JFRD, the local fire and rescue department, while two additional gunshot victims self-transported themselves to hospital.

The Suspect

Katz, the gunman, was in Jacksonville for the Madden 19 qualifying tournament and was listed as a 2017 championship winner by EA Sports.

Steven Javaruski, a professional Madden player, claimed the shooter had been competing and lost. He also recalled how he had witnessed Katz target a “few people” before killing Robertson and Clayton and injuring others.

According to the Associated Press, Katz had a history of mental illness and had spent time in psychiatric facilities twice. He was also prescribed antipsychotic and antidepressant medications.

The shooting has prompted calls for better security at eSports events.