A competitive video gamer killed two people and wounded nearly 10 more during a "Madden NFL 19" tournament at an entertainment complex in Jacksonville, Florida, Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
The lone suspect in the shooting died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after opening fire at Jacksonville Landing, a mall and event space, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said at an evening news conference. Officials believe the gunman is 24-year-old David Katz from Baltimore.
Two people were found dead at the scene, Williams said. Nine people with gunshot wounds and two others hurt during shooting were being treated at area hospitals. All are in stable condition.
U.S. & World
"Today, this evening and tonight, Jacksonville is mourning," Mayor Lanny Curry said.
Though police have not yet released the identities of the two victims, one of them was identified by his former high school as Elijah Clayton.
"Our hearts are broken as we learned that former Calabasas Football player Elijah Clayton was senselessly murdered today during the mass shooting in Florida," the Calabasas High School football program wrote on Facebook. "We send our love, condolences, and deepest sense of sorrow to Elijah's Family and Friends."
The shooting appeared to be livestreamed — video game tournaments are often broadcast online.
Multiple shots can be heard ringing out in video from an XBox Live stream that appears to capture the gunfire at the tournament. A red dot that appears to be a laser pointer is visible on the chest of a player seconds before the first of a dozen gunshots rings out.
NBC News has not confirmed the authenticity of the video; Williams said he was aware of the footage and asked the public to send in more video of the incident if they have it.
Williams said that Katz was in Jacksonville for the tournament but wouldn't discuss his possible motive. He didn't know if Katz knew the victims. The games maker, EA Sports, lists a David Katz as a 2017 championship winner.
The shooter carried out the attack using at least one handgun, Williams said.
"The tragic situation that occurred Sunday in Jacksonville was a senseless act of violence that we strongly condemn," EA Sports said in a statement Sunday night. "Our most heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of the victims whose lives were taken today and those who are injured."
On Sunday evening, the FBI said its agents searched a family home of the man authorities believed was behind the attack.
Heavily armed agents, some in bulletproof vests and carrying rotating machine guns, could be seen entering an upscale townhome complex near Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
An FBI spokesman, Dave Fitz, confirmed that agents had gone to the house of the man's father in Baltimore. He declined to release specifics, citing the ongoing investigation. T.J. Smith, chief spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, also said that agency was assisting law enforcement partners "with some information that has led authorities to Baltimore."
The competition was held in a gaming bar that shares space with a pizzeria. Viewers could watch the games online and see the players.
Marquis Williams, 28, and his girlfriend, Taylor Poindexter, 26, both from Chicago, were ordering pizza at the bar when they heard the first shot.
"Initially we thought it was a balloon popping, but there weren't any balloons in the room," said Williams, who had taken part in the tournament earlier. "Then we heard repeat shots and we took off running." Williams added: "The first shot everybody just turned and looked. After the second, third and fourth shots, everybody took off and ran for the exits."
Taylor Poindexter, an aspiring gamer, said she had hoped to gain some experience at the tournament. She said she never saw the face of the man who was shooting. But she recalled, "We did see him with two hands on a gun walking back just popping rounds."
He said the two ran to a nearby restaurant where workers were waving people in, hiding in a bathroom until police arrived.
Jason Lake, the founder and CEO of compLexity, a company that owns professional e-sports teams, said on Twitter that one of his players, 19-year-old Drini Gjoka, was shot in the thumb.
Gjoka tweeted: "The tourney just got shot up. Im leaving and never coming back." Then: "I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb. Worst day of my life."
Electronic Arts, the company that makes the popular football video game, confirmed that it is "aware of an incident at a sanctioned Madden Championship Series competition in Jacksonville."
"This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved," the company tweeted.
[NATL] PHOTOS: Jacksonville Shooting at Madden Tournament
The sheriff's office used Twitter and Facebook immediately after the shooting to warn people to stay far away and to ask anyone who was hiding to call 911. Police also barricaded a three-block radius around the mall and police boats patrolled the nearby river. Police also took up positions on a bridge overlooking the river.
The Jacksonville Landing, in the heart of the city's downtown, also hosts concerts and other entertainment. It was the site of a Trump rally in 2015, early in his campaign for the White House.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president had been briefed on the incident and was monitoring the situation. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio responded on Twitter, reiterating that the "situation still unfolding, law enforcement is asking everyone to avoid the area."
"Horrifying news from #Jacksonville this afternoon," the Florida Republican tweeted. "Have spoken to local authorities & am still awaiting more information on this shooting."