Video game shooter boasts in chilling footage
CHILLING video footage uncovered from a gaming tournament last year shows the disgruntled professional gamer who unloaded a handgun on his competitors yesterday trash-talking about his skills.
David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, turned a gun on attendees of the Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday in a deadly attack which was live-streamed to viewers around the world who had tuned in to watch the competition.
Katz killed two people and injured 11 before turning the gun on himself, police said.
But footage from a previous tournament, which has since been discovered, shows Katz talking trash at a Bills-sponsored Madden tournament in Buffalo - which he managed to win, despite being a seventh seed, the New York Post reports.
The creepy video seems to foreshadow Sunday's horrific attack as it is understood Katz went on his deadly shooting rampage after losing a match.
"I don't think of myself as a seventh seed," he boasted, following a 41-7 win over a No. 2 seed.
"I think personally, I'm one of the better players - and I like to let my game prove that."
DAVID KATZ BOASTS ABOUT GAMING SKILLS
In the Buffalo tournament, Katz travelled up from his home Baltimore to compete for a chance to play in the Madden Club Series Championship in Burbank, California, according to the Post.
He wound up winning the Bills Madden Club round, but later lost in the quarterfinals.
"I understand the game really well," Katz bragged before playing the Buffalo tournament's second seed.
'WORST DAY OF MY LIFE'
The mass shooting sparked panic when it started at 2pm (local time) in a crowded waterfront tourist strip of restaurants and malls, called The Jacksonville Landing.
Distressing video of the moment Katz turned on his competitors was live-streamed to viewers around the world who had tuned in to watch the competition.
In a video clip, which was widely shared on social media and shown live on popular gaming platform Twitch, two young men can be seen smiling as they compete.
Investigators were looking into the video that appeared to capture the scene right before the shooting began.
A red dot that appears to be a laser pointer is visible on the chest of a player seconds before the first of about a dozen gunshots rings out.
As the shots fired, a man's voice called "what did he shoot me with?" and screaming could be heard in the video football game Madden NFL 19 tournament.
Witnesses described the shooter as a gamer who was competing in the tournament, which was held in a pizza restaurant and bar.
Steven "Steveyj" Javaruski, one of the competitors, told The Los Angeles Times the shooter "targeted a few people" before killing himself.
Another gamer, Drini Gjoka, said on Twitter: "I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb."
"Worst day of my life. I will never take anything for granted ever again. Life can be cut short in a second."
I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb— Drini Gjoka (@YoungDrini) August 26, 2018
I will never take anything for granted ever again. Life can be cut short in a second— Drini Gjoka (@YoungDrini) 26 August 2018
As the shooting sparked panic on the late summer Sunday afternoon, hundreds of other visitors to area tried to find their way safety.
Authorities used social media to try to keep people away.
"We are finding many people hiding in locked areas at The Landing. We ask you to stay calm, stay where you are hiding. SWAT is doing a methodical search inside The Landing. We will get to you. Please don't come running out," the sheriff's office advised on Facebook and Twitter.
A three block radius was barricaded around the mall while Coast Guard boats patrolled the river and police snipers set up on structures overlooking the mall, according to local media reports.
'IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE'
Within hours of the shooting, police and the FBI raided the Baltimore home which Katz, who played under monikers including Ravenschamp and Bread, reportedly shared with his parents.
Heavily armed agents, some in bulletproof vests and brandishing long guns, could be seen entering an upscale townhouse complex near Baltimore's Inner Harbour.
Agency spokesman Dave Fitz confirmed that agents went to the house but he declined to release details. A motive for the shooting is still yet to be confirmed.
To his fellow gamers, Katz was known to barely speak and sometimes exhibited an erratic playing style.
"It just doesn't make sense why he would do it," gamer Shay Kivlen, 21, of Seattle, said.
"In 'Madden,' you never get so mad at a loss that you would want to do that."
Kivlen, who said he had once beaten Katz for a coveted spot in a previous tournament, heard second-hand from a friend that Katz had been asking where Kivlen had gone shortly before the shooting.
After losing his single-elimination game Sunday, Kivlen said, he left to take a nap at his hotel about 20 minutes before the attack. He was watching a live stream of the tournament online when the gunfire erupted.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams has declined to comment on what motivated Katz to open fire inside the gaming bar but such tournaments can involve high stakes.
The Jacksonville tournament had $5000 in prize money to divide among the top finalists.
Kivlen said some gamers rely on that money to make ends meet.
But he also insisted most players take losses in stride and, even with cash on the line, still view it as being just a game.
"No one deserves to die over playing a video game, you know?" Derek Jones, 30, who travelled from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to compete in Jacksonville, added.
"We're just out here trying to win some money for our families and stuff."
Jones said he was sitting on a back patio outside the tournament venue when he heard the gunshots. He jumped a fence and ran, leaving behind his backpack and mobile phone.
Jones said he knew Katz by the gamer tags he used online - often "Bread" or "Sliced Bread" - and had played against him but had never spoken to him personally.
Kivlen said that even when Katz showed up at in-person competitions, he never seemed to socialise and would brush off attempts at conversation.
"We've always known he was a little off and stuff just because he wasn't social at all," Kivlen said, adding that Katz's odd behaviour extended to his game play.
"He would do kind of weird stuff online that other people wouldn't do. He would catch a ball and just start jumping out of bounds and stuff when he could have gotten more yards, just hurting himself. I don't know what he was doing."