The first lawsuit in the Jacksonville, Florida Madden NFL 19 tournament shooting last Sunday has been filed. Gamer Jacob Mitich has filed suit against tournament sponsor Electronic Arts, the game’s manufacturer, plus the mall and restaurant where the event was held.
The shooting occurred at a qualifying event for a Madden NFL 19 video gaming tournament at the GLHF Game Bar in Jacksonville. The shooting broke out as the event was being live-streamed on the video gaming site Twitch; several rounds of shots were heard along with screams and cries for help before the feed went out.
Officials in Jacksonville have confirmed that two people were killed in addition to the gunman during the mass shooting. Eleven others were reportedly wounded.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Mike Williams said law enforcement believed the shooter was David Katz, a 24-year-old gamer who had been a Madden competitor in the past; the Associated Press reported the Baltimore home of Katz’s father was raided later Sunday as part of the investigation.
According to the 49-page complaint from Mitich, Jacksonville firm Morgan & Morgan, and Washington DC’s Mehri & Skalet, PLLLC, Mitich traveled to Jacksonville “to do what he loved.”
“He trusted the event host and organizers, and believed that he was walking into a safe space,” the eight-count complaint filed in state court in the Sunshine state today asserts. “That trust was shattered when shots rang out in an overcrowded, since-shut-down, non-permitted space.” The complaint adds, “Combined with an alleged abject failure to provide adequate security, the result was tragic.”
The complaint seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.
“We are bringing this lawsuit to hold those responsible accountable, and to ensure that gamers like Jake are able to get together to pursue their passion without having to fear for their lives,” the lawsuit alleges.
Mitich claims that Katz lost his Madden event on Sunday morning and was seen “pacing throughout the venue.” Mitich was sitting five feet from Katz when gunshots began. Mitich took off running, but wounded in his back and leg.
He was treated and released from the UF Health trauma center.