A gamer who knocked Jacksonville Madden tournament shooter David Katz out of a competition last year says he thinks he might have been one of the gunman’s targets, but escaped harm because he had gone back to his hotel room to rest after losing a game. Shay Kivlen told the New York Post one of the people running the competition told his friend after the shooting that Katz asked where he was going when he left the GLHF Gaming Bar on Sunday.
The 21-year-old gamer from Seattle told The Post he was in his room watching the Madden tournament live stream when the gunshots rang out Sunday afternoon. He said he frantically called everyone he knew at the competition. “Eventually one of my friends picked up. He was hiding in the bathroom with like 30 other people. He told me that Trueboy (Eli Clayton) was dead and someone was shooting everyone up,” Kivlen told the newspaper. “He had talked to a guy from EA who was at the event. And supposedly as I was leaving the tournament, the guy who shot the place up had asked where I was going when I was leaving — asked the EA guy where I was going. He told me I might be a target.”
Kivlen told the newspaper he called police and an officer was sent to his hotel room until it was confirmed Katz was the only suspect and had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene. The Madden tournament was the southeastern satellite competition for a nationwide Madden 19 Classic event hosted by EA Sports, the company that makes the popular football video game. Police say Katz was targeting gamers at the tournament, but it is not clear if he had specific targets. Two people were killed, Taylor “SpotMePlzzz” Robertson and Eli “Trueboy” Clayton. Nine others were wounded by the gunfire, but all are expected to survive.
Kiveln told The Post that he beat Katz in a game last year that would have secured him a spot in a California tournament. “I ended up beating him, and then he ended up not making it because of that,” Kivlen told the newspaper. Kivlen said Katz was a loner in the competitive Madden community. “Everyone knew he was kind of off. He never tried to be social. He came to play and kept to himself,” Kivlen told The Post. “He had some issues and he took it out on everyone. He had people that he wanted, but anyone else who was in the way was going down.”
Kivlen is one of the top Madden gamers in the country. According to EA Sports website, “Kiv is an explosive player. If you let Kiv control the pace of the game, his high-powered passing attack can put the game out of reach quickly. Kiv was a finalist in the Madden Challenge, but ultimately fell to Drini’s absurd second half onslaught. He then missed out on representing the Seattle Seahawks after losing to Killer Mike. If Kiv can shake off the tough losses, his passing prowess can shake up the Ultimate League.”
Kivlen told EASports.com earlier this year that he started playing Madden as a teen. “I’m just a college kid that likes video games. I used to be into sports; I played baseball, basketball, and football year-round. I started playing baseball year-round to focus on that, but had to stop because I got hurt,” Kivlen said. “In Madden, there are things you can do to prevent getting unlucky, but there’s also stuff you can’t control. If you can control your emotions, after skill, that’s probably the biggest thing. If you can stay even keeled, you’re going to be success.”
Kivlen told The Associated Press that there is pressure on competitive gamers because of the cash prizes on the line at tournaments, but “in Madden, you never get so mad at a loss that you would want to do that.” He added, “It just doesn’t make sense why he would do it.”
He was close friends with Clayton, who was killed in the shooting. “I talked to u almost every day for the last 5 years,” Kivlen tweeted. “U were one of the most kind and genuine people I’ve ever met. I love u like a brother. I’m gonna miss hearing you laugh every day and seeing your genuine smile.” Kivlen shared a GoFundMe that was started to raise money for the victims.
“Please everyone contribute to this gofundme for Trueboy and Spotme … anything you can do or give is appreciated. Thank you. Love you guys,” he tweeted.