The shooting was partially captured on a livestream of the “Madden NFL” gaming tournament at the Jacksonville Landing, a downtown marketplace.
In video captured from the livestreaming network Twitch and posted on social media, shots can be heard as footage of a kickoff return is replaced by the message “controller disconnected.”
Sources told News4Jax, a Jacksonville broadcast station, that at least four people had been fatally shot, with more wounded.
The shooter was a gamer who was competing in the tournament and lost, according to Stephen “Steveyj” Javaruski, one of the competitors.
The shooter “targeted a few people” and shot at least five victims before killing himself, Javaruski told the Los Angeles Times in a direct message on Twitter. The gunman killed two or three people “that I saw,” Javaruski said.
In a public tweet, he added that he was escorted out by police after the shooting.
“I am literally so lucky,” gamer Drini Gjoka said in a tweet. “The bullet hit my thumb.”
He added: “Worst day of my life.”
Gaming has become increasingly professionalized in recent years, with gamers taking on public personas similar to professional athletes, and such events are often followed on video and via social media.
Brad Kaaya, a former quarterback at Chaminade High School in Los Angeles’ West Hills section, identified one of the two gamers seen on the livestream before the shooting began as a former classmate, Elijah Clayton. He was on the 2012 football team and later played football at nearby Calabasas High School in 2013. He is known as Trueboy on the video game circuit.
Saturday’s competition was a regional qualifying round for the Madden NFL Championship series, a prestigious national tournament in which the top players have lucrative sponsorships.
The two-day competition began Saturday morning. The opening round featured round-robin matchups for as many as 256 players, though it’s not clear how many actually attended. The first- and second-place finishers of the competition qualify to advance and receive $250 each, plus travel and lodging for the next round. The third- and fourth-place finishers receive $1,000 each but don’t advance.
Saturday’s shooting appeared to unfold during the second round of play.
By 4:30 p.m., investigators had cleared the shooting scene and were still questioning witnesses, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said at a briefing.
He said the lone suspect, a white male, had been killed and that police were still confirming his identity.
Investigators were reviewing video of the shooting posted on social media and encouraged those with access to such footage to contact them, Williams said.
He did not provide a death toll or injury count.
Six victims — ranging in age from 20 to 35 — were taken to University of Florida Health Jacksonville hospital, according to hospital spokesman Dan Leveton, who said that five were in good condition, one in serious condition. He said that most suffered multiple gunshot wounds and that one who was hit in the chest was expected to stay overnight for surgery.
Three other victims were taken to Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville and were in stable condition, spokesman Peter Moberg said.
The attack came two days after one student was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting at a Jacksonville high school football game that drew a crowd of 4,000. Investigators said the two male victims — including the student who was killed — had gang ties and were targeted, while the female victim was caught in the crossfire.
(Staff writer Eric Sondheimer contributed to this article.)
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