March for Our Lives Jacksonville released a statement regarding the mass shooting that took place on Sunday, August 26, at a Madden gaming tournament. A gunman opened fire on a crowd of gamers, leaving three people dead, including the gunman, and 11 injured.
The Jacksonville chapter of the March for Our Lives campaign released a statement and several tweets regarding the shooting, saying they were “deeply devastated by the news of the mass shooting.” The statement stated that the group was going to “focus on community healing and use this as a driving force in remembrance of why it is so important to continue the conversation.”
The group also tweeted a set of pictures taken at the location of the shooting just a month before, when March for Our Lives had a block party to raise awareness for the cause.
“On July 27th MFOL hosted a block party at the Jacksonville Landing,” the tweet read. “A month later that SAME location was met with unforgettable tragedy. When are we going to realize that we have a problem? We dereve [sic] to be safe. My prayers go out to jacksonville tonight. We are fighting for you.”
As details of the shooting emerged, some disturbing video surfaced with it. Video from the seen shows a red dot on a player’s clothing, presumed to be a laser, ABC News reports. Another clip from a livestream shows the chaos unfolding live on the internet, as the gunman, identified as David Katz, opened fire in a crowded gaming bar inside a Chicago Pizza during the tournament. You can watch the videos here.
Chicago Pizza was hosting a satellite tournament for a nationwide EA Sports-sanctioned Madden NFL 19 competition that will culminate in a Las Vegas event with $125,000 on the line.
A witness told the Los Angeles Times that the shooter, identified as Katz, had played in the tournament earlier and lost. Another competitor in the tournament told the newspaper that Katz came back to the event with a gun and “targeted a few people” before fatally shooting himself.
Katz, 24, of Maryland, fatally shot himself at the scene, and was described as a “disgruntled” gamer who had participated in the Madden tournament, according to Fox. Katz had a history of mental illness, and was hospitalized multiple times growing up. Divorce filings from his parents say that as a teenager he was “twice hospitalized in psychiatric facilities and that he was prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications,” according to ABC.
Katz was armed with two semi-automatic handguns – a .45 caliber and a 9mm, along with extra ammo, according to police. One of the guns was equipped with an aftermarket laser sight, police said.
March for Our Lives Jacksonville followed up their official statement with a series of tweets, reminding their followers that Jacksonville has a serious issue with gun violence, complete with statistics. According to MFOL, in 2017 112 people were shot and killed in Jacksonville, and in June of this year, Jacksonville had “accounted for 23% of transgender homicides for the ENTIRE US.”
The group also urged their followers to get out and vote tomorrow, and said they would keep everyone updated on an upcoming vigil for the victims of the mass shooting.
“A lot of you have asked how you can help us. MFOL Jax and other community leaders & currently planning a call to action for this weekend. So stay tuned for more updates. More importantly, tomorrow is Election Day, so please show up and vote like our lives depend on it b/c they do,” the tweet read.
They continued: “March for our Lives Jacksonville is working on coordinating a response to the recent mass shooting. We once again are incredibly devastated to hear of such tragedy. We need to make sure this does not ever happen again in our city!!”