David Katz, the Madden video game tournament shooting suspect, was hospitalized as a teen for psychiatric issues, court records show, and his parents argued about just how serious his medical issues were. Both of his parents work for the federal government, according to court records, and they have been cooperative with the police. Here is what we know so far about David Katz’s family, including his mother Elizabeth Katz and his father, Richard Katz.
1. David Katz’s Mother, Elizabeth Katz, Works for the FDA in Toxicology & Has a Ph.D. in Toxicology
In court records from divorce proceedings in 2012, David Katz’s mother, Elizabeth Katz, is described as working for the FDA. The court records are an appeal based on an original divorce settlement that was affirmed in 2007.
More specifically, the records state: “Elizabeth (Katz), who has a Ph.D. in toxicology, is employed by the United States Food and Drug Administration…” Her bio on FDAZilla says that she is from Silver Spring, Maryland. You can read some of her papers here.
2. David Katz’s Father, Richard Katz, Works for NASA
Divorce proceeding court records also describe David Katz’s father, Richard B. Katz, as working for NASA. He has a master’s degree in electrical engineering. A spokesman for NASA said that Richard Katz works as an engineer in the Instrument Electronics Development Branch, CNN reported.
According to NASA’s website, the Instrument Electronics Development Branch (Code 564) “provides leadership and expertise to design, develop, test, and deliver electronics systems for space flight science instruments including: front-end electronics, analog signal filtering and conditioning, temperature control electronics, analog-to-digital conversion, digital signal processing, and science data processing. In addition, the Branch develops analog and digital electronics to control various instrument sensors and actuators.”
The IEDB also provides experts for design, analysis, and testing of advanced microelectronics devices, the website states, and collaborates on developing proposals for future instruments.
IEDB is categorized as Code 564. Richard Katz (from Code 564) has authored a number of technology reports and papers over the years related to his work (one example from 2007 is here.) You can see a list of his Tech Briefs here. He has also received several awards during his time at NASA, including Tech Briefs Awards in 2009. In 2004, a Richard B. Katz from the Office of Logic Design, was listed as the chair of the MAPLD International Conference. You can read one of his unclassified presentations here. The Office of Logic Design is described by NASA as: “A scientific study of the problems of digital engineering for space flight systems, with a view to their practical solution.”
3. David Katz & His Brother Were Described As Having ‘Significant Healthcare Needs’ in Court Documents, & David’s Dad Accused His Mom of Calling the Police Over ‘Trivial’ Matters
Court records from 2012 mention that when Elizabeth and Richard Katz divorced in 2007, both of their sons, Brandon and David, “had significant healthcare needs.” Rich appeared to be a proud father and included some artwork by his other son, Brandon, on an old NASA website.
In court documents, Elizabeth Katz said that David struggled to concentrate after his parents broke up, the Associated Press reported. She said he would cry, curl up in a ball, and refuse to go to school. A judge had awarded custody to Elizabeth and gave Richard visitation rights.
Richard claimed in court records that Elizabeth called the police for “trivial matters,” AP reported. The transcript of 2010 police phone call showed Elizabeth calling 911 and saying that David was abusing her by coming home late from a visit with his dad. She said he was trying to get control of a TV cable cord and was “assaulting her,” rolling his eyes and laughing.
Court records also showed a 2010 letter from David to a magistrate judge, calling his mother “pretty crazy” and saying he wanted to live with his dad, AP reported.
4. Court Records Revealed that Richard Katz Said His Wife Was ‘Exaggerating’ David’s Mental Illness
Divorce filings showed that David Katz was hospitalized in psychiatric facilities twice as a teen, ABC 7 reported. At least one of those times he was hospitalized at the Sheppard Pratt Health System in Townson, the Baltimore Sun reported. AP said this hospitalization was in late 2007 for 12 days. He later was at Potomac Ridge in Rockville for 13 days.
But his parents disagreed about how to best care for him, ABC 7 revealed. He was prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medicine, but his dad claimed that his wife was exaggerating David’s mental illness because of their custody battle.
Court records revealed that David Katz was playing video games “obsessively” as a teen, to the point of sometimes refusing to go to school or even bathe, the Associated Press reported. At one point Elizabeth Katz confiscated her son’s gaming equipment. In a court transcript she said: “His hair would very often go unwashed for days. When I took his gaming equipment controllers away so he couldn’t play at 3 or 4 in the morning, I’d get up and find that he was just walking around the house in circles.”
In court records, Elizabeth said that Richard had told David not to take Risperdal, an anti-psychotic drug that was prescribed to him. But Richard countered in court documents that David had not been “diagnosed as psychotic,” AP reported.
Court documents showed that Richard claimed that Elizabeth had “an obsession with using mental health professionals and in particular psychiatric drugs to perform the work that parents should naturally do,” AP reported. He accused her of giving false information to mental health care providers.
David was sent to a wilderness therapy program in Utah, called RedCliff Ascent, for almost 100 days, AP reported.
5. Authorities Searched a Baltimore Home Tied to His Father, & Said Both Parents Have Been Cooperative with the Investigation
On Sunday night, authorities searched a home in the 1200 Black of Harbor Island Walk near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reported. Property records said the home belonged to Richard Katz. According to Patch.com, some sources said that David Katz lived in a condo there with his dad and his dad’s girlfriend, but other sources said that David just visited on occasion. Neighbors said that Rich was a really good guy, News 5 Cleveland reported.
When David Katz lived in a neighborhood in Columbia, the family kept to themselves for the most part, a neighbor told the Baltimore Sun. Peggy Marx told the Sun that neighbors would sometimes see police cars outside the home. They left that neighborhood about a decade ago. But neighbor Renee Williams told the Sun that the family was quiet but would reach out occasionally, including bringing over a gift after Williamson gave birth and inviting her to one of their son’s karate tournaments.
Charles P. Spencer, special agent overseeing FBI’s Jacksonville Division, said in a press conference on Monday that both of David’s parents were complying completely with the investigation. “They’ve provided access to all the records we’ve been requested, and been very understanding of the need for information to ensure the safety of others,” he said. “This has been vital to advancing the overall investigative effort.”