Jacksonville mass shooting survivor returns home to South Florida

Witness says gaming event lacked security

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A  gamer who witnessed the mass shooting in Jacksonville said it was difficult to break loose from the fear. He didn't know who had been shot, if the gunman was still taking aim or where it was safe to run.

Abbott Lopez returned home on Monday to South Florida. He said he was angry that there wasn't security at the "Madden NFL 19" tournament on Sunday when David Katz, 24, walked into the gaming bar to shoot 11 people before killing himself. Two of the 11 victims died. 

"We lost some good people, people that I know, people that I have known for about a couple years now," Lopez said.  

After the traumatic experience, he decided that he is taking a break from the gaming world for now. Lopez said the shooting at the Jacksonville landing played out in a room about the size of a large bedroom. The sound of gunfire gave way to the sound of shattered glass and the cries for help. 

"All of a sudden you hear gunshots, you hear some people screaming, everyone ducked to the ground," Lopez said. "Some people just ran, some people waited for the gunshots to stop and then run. It was chaos once the shots were fired." 

Lopez recalled seeing the gunman at the start of the gaming tournament, but nothing seemed amiss. He described ducking for cover, looking for his cousin and waiting for a break in the gunfire to run. 

"I was with my cousin, so I made sure he was alright. and once I made sure he was alright, we waited for police," Lopez said. "The police were already there. They were there within a minute or so."

Lopez said he got to know the two victims at different tournaments. Both were respected, successful gamers with a competitive streak.  

"Guys like that don’t deserve to lose their lives," Lopez said.