The event organizers for a gaming convention in Carrollton have canceled their upcoming tournament because of the deadly shooting in Jacksonville over the weekend.
EA Sports cancelled the three remaining Madden qualifiers in the wake of violence at the Florida tournament on Sunday. The company says the qualifying events are operated independently, but it wants to make sure it runs a review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators.
Gunman David Katz killed two people and injured 10 others before killing himself Sunday. Court records show the 24-year-old was twice hospitalized in psychiatric facilities and was prescribed antipsychotic and antidepressant medications.
The event was scheduled to be at the java gaming café in Carrollton. Up to 150 people were expected to participate and organizers were talking to local police about security for the event until it was cancelled late Monday.
“This is pretty much unprecedented in a gaming event, it’s never happened before,” said gamer Christian Hanberry, who said he’s been playing since he was 5. “Gaming gives them kind of a way to connect to people in a way you can’t really connect to people in real life because you have this common thing.”
But Sunday’s shooting has shaken the entire gaming community.
“It’s just a permanent negative stain on the whole entire thing, it’s just really sad because it’s starting to grow,” Hanberry said.
Greg Scott, Gamesharkz founder and CEO, knows players who were at the Jacksonville event and was supposed to host the Carrollton competition.
“The whole entire community needs time to heal and really take time to step back and try to learn from this incident,” Scott said. “That love that you feel at these live events, just to have evil come into there is an eye opener.”
Scott says they were in talks with Carrollton police about providing event security even before the shooting. He now forsees gaming events having tougher security -- including more personnel, bag checks and metal detectors.
“The whole e-sports and gaming community in general will look at this and learn from this and provide even better security,” Scott said.
The event in Carrollton has not been rescheduled. The approximately 40 people who had signed up can request refunds using the site they registered on for the tournament.