A former high school football star who loved online gaming and a previous Madden Classic tournament winner were among the victims of Sunday’s deadly shooting at a popular gaming competition in Jacksonville, Fla.
Friends and family of the gaming community are now mourning the deaths of Eli “trueboy” Clayton and Taylor “spotmeplzzz” Robertson after they were fatally shot at the GLHF Game Bar, where they were participating in a tournament for competitive players of the Madden football video game. Robertson, 27, took home the top prize at the Madden Classic just two years ago, while Clayton, 21, won nearly $51,000 in his short pro gaming career.
According to CNN, winners of Sunday’s high-stakes tournament would go on to compete in a higher-level tournament in Las Vegas this fall, where thousands of dollars in cash prizes could be won. Taylor and Clayton would never make it there.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless violence in Jacksonville and the tragic deaths of Dot City Gaming team member, Taylor ‘SpotMePlzzz’ Robertson, and Eli ‘True’ Clayton,” Robertson’s gaming sponsor, Dot City Gaming, said in a tweet. “They were great competitors and well-loved members of the Madden community.”
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to their families, loved ones, and all of those affected by this tragedy,” it added.
Authorities say the chaos unfolded after David Katz, a fellow gamer who was eliminated early on in the competition, targeted rival players in barrage of gunfire. The shooting left two people dead and 11 others badly injured, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office. Katz then turned the gun on himself, police said.
Video from the tournament, which was streamed online, showed what appeared to be a red laser dot pointed at Clayton’s chest moments before dozens of shots rang out.
“What did he shoot me with?” a male voice says on the video.
According to the Tribune News, law enforcement responded to gunfire at the Chicago Pizza in the Jacksonville Landing shopping plaza where the regional qualifying round of the Madden NFL Championship was taking place. Clayton and Robertson were shot during that time.
“He was always good at games, and he felt like he could go somewhere with it,” said Jojo McIntosh, who played football with Clayton in his hometown of Woodland Hills, Calif. “I know he was at the top of what he was doing.”
Dayne Downey, a fan of Clayton’s and an NBA 2K League player, told the New York Post “if you knew the competitive Madden scene, you knew him.” A short bio on Clayton’s gaming profile described him as “one of the best in competitive Madden.”
Meanwhile, friends and family remembered Robertson as a loving father of one who loved playing video games. As part of the Madden community, he participated in 18 matches and won 72 percent of them. He was three weeks shy of celebrating his 28th birthday.
”I looked up to him so much when I was little, as did most boys in Peterstown, W.V.,” Monroe County resident Andrew Evans in Facebook post. “He loved his family more than anything.”
Police are still searching for a motive for Katz’s rampage.