Victims in Jacksonville Landing shooting identified, mourned

Taylor Robertson, Eli Clayton killed during video game tournament

By Roy Ramos - Reporter, Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two men fatally shot during a video game tournament at the Jacksonville Landing have been identified as Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton.

Robertson, 27, and Clayton, 22, were participating in a Madden NFL 19 tournament when another contestant opened fire inside the Chicago Pizza at the riverfront complex.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, was the shooter. He killed himself after fatally shooting Robertson and Clayton and wounding 10 others. Authorities said one person was treated for a "non-gunshot-related" injury.

"Our family will be forever changed. Nothing will replace the love that we have for Elijah," his cousin, Brandi Pettijohn, said. "My cousin has to bury her firstborn, and that is as terrible as it sounds."

Officials said just before the shooting, Katz went to his vehicle and returned with two handguns -- a .45 and a 9 mm, one equipped with a laser.

Investigators said the suspect specifically targeted other gamers.

Williams said during a news conference Monday that video surveillance of the shooting shows Katz walk past other patrons at a pizzeria and head to a back room where the tournament is being hosted before he opens fire.

Abbott Lopez, who was one of many who ran for cover, said he clearly saw Katz at the start of the tournament, and just moments later heard gunshots.

"I was with my cousin, so I made sure he was all right," Lopez said. "Once I made sure he was all right, we waited for police ... They were there within minutes or so."

Toshiba Sheron was announcing the event, standing just feet away from the gunman, when he heard a loud pop and the game being played abruptly stopped.

"I thought it was maybe a technical difficulty, maybe a light bulb blowing, the first shot, and then the second shot I kind of focused on the shooter and I could see the gun and I could see him aiming it," Sheron told ABC's "Good Morning America."

Tony Montagnino was wounded in the shooting. His screams could be heard in the live video feed of the tournament.

"I turned around and actually saw the flashes from the gun and at that point just went into survival mode, and I just wanted to make sure I was out of there," he told "Good Morning America."

Sheron wanted the families of the victims to know they didn't die alone.

"They died with family and they died with a brotherhood that loved them and they died doing something that they loved," Sheron said.

Clayton's relatives said he was a professional gamer, who also loved football.

"He loved football, and at out of all the video games he could play, he settled and mastered Madden," Pettijohn said. 

Clayton was a former football player at Calabasas High School in California. His former team offered their condolences on Twitter, saying in part, "Our hearts are broken."

EA Sports

Taylor Robertson, 27, and Eli Clayton, 24, (left to right) were killed in a mass shooting during a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament at the Jacksonville Landing.

Robinson was from Ballard, West Virginia. The professional gamer is survived by his wife and son. 

Williams said there were about 150 people in the bar at the time of the shooting. He said the wounded victims are all expected to recover.

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

Officials haven't released a motive for the shooting.

Williams said Katz carried two guns during the shooting but appears to have only fired one. Investigators said the guns were purchased legally in Baltimore from a licensed dealer.

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