Skip to main content

Gamers mourn Jacksonville shooting victims as Madden tournament turns to tragedy

On Sunday, August 26, a shooting was reported at a Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. It was the first of four tournaments for the popular football game, where players compete for a chance to win a $200,000 prize and the champion title at the Madden Bowl. What initially started as an opportunity for a group of passionate competitive gamers turned into nine hospitalizations and three fatalities. One of the fatalities included David Katz, an eliminated tournament competitor now identified as the shooter.

Before the tragedy took place, two players can be seen on the event’s Twitch stream, Eli “TrueBoy” Clayton and Wesley “Joe Rice” Gittens, as they are playing a game of Madden. Suddenly, several gunshots can be heard in the background and briefly, Clayton is seen targeted by a laser sight before gameplay is interrupted and replaced with a screen that reads, “Controller disconnected.” Shots continue to fire among frantic shuffling and screaming as a man can be distinctly heard yelling, “What did he shoot me with?” The stream footage of the shooting was taken down by Twitch, though screencaps and clips are still circulating social media.

Eli “TrueBoy” Clayton (left) and Taylor “SpotMeplzzz” Robertson (right) Image used with permission by copyright holder

Respected and beloved competitors in the Madden scene, Eli “TrueBoy” Clayton and Taylor “SpotMeplzzz” Robertson were both targeted and killed by Katz right before he took his own life. Police have not yet released a motive, but the LA Times reported that Katz was, in fact, a competitor who lost at the tournament. Records obtained by the Associated Press also show Katz has had a history of being hospitalized for mental illness, as well as prescriptions for anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications. 

Following the news of the shooting, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson announced in a letter to the gaming community that the remaining Madden qualifier events have been canceled to review safety protocols for future esports tournaments. He went on to explain that qualifier events are usually handled independently by partners and EA works alongside them using the feedback from players to “ensure competitive integrity”. Now changes will be made to establish a consistent level of security as well.

There’s been an outpouring of support from the gaming community. An official GoFundMe called Madden Fallen Angels was created to help support the families of the victims. The hashtags #JacksonvilleStrong and #PrayforJacksonville on Twitter are flooded with esports gamers, gaming personalities, developers, journalists, and more paying their respects to Elijah Clayton and Taylor Robertson. Many have also been discussing the ways we can prevent tragedies like this from happening further down the line. Check out some of those tweets below. 

This article will be updated with new information regarding the Jacksonville Shooting as it comes.

Updated on August 28, 2018: Added information from Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson’s message.

Editors' Recommendations

Felicia Miranda
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Born in '89 and raised through the 90s, I experienced what I consider to be the golden age of video games. At an early age, I…
Madden 22 predicts the Bengals will win Super Bowl LVI
A Rams and bengals helmet sit on the field in Madden 22.

EA Sports Madden NFL has delivered its yearly Super Bowl prediction using its "prediction tool:" Madden NFL 22. The simulation found that the Cincinnati Bengals will take their first Super Bowl, despite lacking home-field advantage, beating the Los Angeles Rams 24-21 in a very close game.

Madden 22 | Official Super Bowl LVI Prediction (feat. Marshawn Lynch)

Read more
Madden 22: Ultimate Team tips and tricks for building your dream team
Lamar Jackson holding the football in Madden.

While Madden 22 turned its focus toward Franchise Mode for the first time in several years, Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) continues to be the preferred way to play for most fans. While most MUT players have their team-building strategies on lock, new Madden players may feel overwhelmed by the player cards, sets, auctions, and head-to-head games.

With the ultimate fantasy team at your fingertips, here are some helpful tips and tricks for Madden Ultimate Team in Madden 22.

Read more
How to flip your play in Madden 22, and why you should
Derrik Henry in Madden 22.

Sometimes you don't have to call crazy audibles for a play to work in Madden 22. It can be as easy as flipping your play at the line of scrimmage or pre-play from the Selection menu. But when should you be flipping plays in Madden 22? Let's talk about how to flip your play in Madden 22 and why doing so can mean big yards for your offense.

The top 5 best offensive playbooks in Madden 22
Madden 22: Tips and tricks to up your game
Is Madden 22 coming to mobile? Everything we know so far

Read more