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2 Victims, Gunman Die After Shooting At Florida Gaming Tournament


Two people were killed, several others wounded when a gunman opened fire at a video game tournament in Florida yesterday. The Jacksonville sheriff says the suspect has been identified as David Katz, who was a participant in the tournament. After opening fire on the crowd, Katz killed himself.

Lindsey Kilbride is a reporter at our member station WJCT in Jacksonville, and she joins us now. Lindsey, what more can you share at this point about the suspect, David Katz?

LINDSEY KILBRIDE, BYLINE: Yeah. So what we know so far is that he used at least one handgun with - for the shooting. His car was here in Jacksonville. The police impounded it and searched it yesterday. They believed he stayed in a local hotel. They're asking for information - if people know where he stayed, if they know more about him, any more information.

As you said, he was a gamer. There's a video of him playing a game in a different match circulating on Twitter. It's sort of eerie to watch. But the announcers are describing him as someone who keeps to himself. It's hard to talk to him. He's very focused on the game. So we're trying to gather more information about who he is or was. And we were trying to get more details on that today.

MARTIN: Any idea about motive at this point? I mean, were the victims targeted by him? Was it random?

KILBRIDE: There's definitely a lot of speculation, a lot of theories floating around on the Internet. We don't have any confirmation from authorities yet, so we're sort of reluctant to say what the motive may have been. But again, we are hoping to get that information today at hopefully a later press conference.

MARTIN: Right. Understandable. Any more details coming out at this point, Lindsey, about how this all happened, what the tick-tock of events was?

KILBRIDE: Yeah. So it happened around 1:30 in the afternoon yesterday. Police are saying that they arrived within two minutes of getting 911 calls. And actually, firefighters were doing training in the area right across the street. So the union president is saying that victims actually began running out to the firefighters. So they were immediately responding before the calls or maybe simultaneously - just immediately.

MARTIN: And what more can you share about this tournament itself? I understand it was being livestreamed.

KILBRIDE: Yeah, it's a Madden tournament - so the NFL football game. This was a qualifying match for a Nationals event next month. And it actually began on Saturday, and it kind of - people taper off. They - people get - they play against each other, and people are disqualified. There is a video stream of the shooting that is also online. And you don't see this shooting happening. The video cuts out. But you can hear everything. It's really, really hard to listen to. But the sheriff has that video, and they're asking for any additional video, pictures, information from the shooting.

MARTIN: So this - as you said, this was a Madden tournament. The gaming industry I imagine is responding to this. Have they said anything?

KILBRIDE: Yeah. We're hearing different leaders in the gaming world are tweeting, so we're getting that. EA Sports released a statement basically saying the organization is devastated. They don't condone the actions. And then a lot on social media just mourning over those lost yesterday. We're not reporting the names of the two killed because we don't have confirmation from officials on that, but there are pictures from people who knew the - who knew the alleged deceased people floating around, calling them champions forever.

MARTIN: Florida has primaries tomorrow, right? And clearly in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting, gun safety and gun control were top of mind anyway. I imagine this is going to amplify that.

KILBRIDE: Absolutely. You know, right after the Parkland shooting, there was a massive gun safety bill that was passed requiring, you know, either police officers or armed guards to be in all schools.


KILBRIDE: There was a lot of conversation about that already. And it's a huge issue for all the gubernatorial candidates. We have a very crowded gubernatorial race.

MARTIN: Lindsey Kilbride from member station WJCT in Jacksonville, thanks so much.

KILBRIDE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lindsey Kilbride