After losing at a Madden tournament, the 24-year-old gunman opened fire, killing two people and himself and injuring 11 others.
The horrific shooting happened at 1.34pm local time and was captured on a live stream of the tournament, where players were competing on the Madden 19 NFL online game.
The shooter was identified as a white male who had travelled to Florida from Baltimore for the tournament. Witnesses reported he used a laser sight on his gun to target victims. Nine were wounded by gunfire and a further two people suffered injuries while fleeing the scene.
Multiple people are dead after a gunman started firing during a video gaming tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, authorities say. https://t.co/eAmXxvnJ7e
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 26, 2018
Gunman’s house raided by authorities
The site was quickly surrounded by SWAT team members and a police helicopter hovered overhead. Later on Sunday, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents raided the home of the shooter in South Baltimore.
Jacksonville sheriff Mike Williams confirmed the shooter used at least one handgun to kill and wound other tournament players and spectators. The tournament was taking place in the Good Luck Have Fun room at the back of a pizza restaurant in a shopping complex known as the Jacksonville Landing.
The sheriff said officers “many people hiding in locked areas” throughout the complex in the chaotic aftermath of the shooting.
On Sunday night, FBI and ATF agents raided a home linked to the shooter in the upscale Federal Hill neighbourhood of South Baltimore.
RIP Trueboy! One of the 4 victims in the Jacksonville Landing Madden Shooting. pic.twitter.com/j2iSXszFuc
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) August 26, 2018
Gaming community shocked by the Jacksonville shooting
Another professional gamer playing in the tournament, Drini Gjoka, tweeted: “The tourney just got shot up. Im leavinng (sic) and never coming back”. Later, he tweeted that a bullet grazed his thumb.
On Twitter, fans mourned the loss of Trueboy, another player in the tournament.
“One of the most tragic days ive experienced. This community is like family. Broken,” wrote Problem, a Madden gaming champion.
We are aware of an incident at a sanctioned Madden Championship Series competition in Jacksonville. We are working with authorities to gather facts at this stage. This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved.
— EA SPORTS (@EASPORTS) August 26, 2018
EA Sports, the makers of the Madden games, wrote on Twitter that they are aware of the incident and are co-operating with authorities. “This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved,” it wrote.
President Trump had been briefed on the situation and called Florida Governor Rick Scott to offer any support for the operation.
Jacksonville is only around 480 kilomtres (300 miles) from Parkland, where a gunman killed 17 people in a mass shooting in February 2018. There was another mass shooting in Orlando in 2016, where 49 people were killed by a gunman at Pulse nightclub.