Eli “Trueboy” Clayton was up seven points on Wesley “Joe Rice” Gittens during the Madden 19 Championship Series’ Classic EA Major qualifying event in Jacksonville, Florida when a disgruntled shooter opened fire on the Aug. 26 tournament.
A clip from the tournament’s Twitch stream captured the shooting as it happened. Multiple shots can be heard among screams from terrified participants and spectators. Clayton has been confirmed as one of the dead by Calabasas High School, where he played football. Dot City Gaming Madden 19 player Taylor “spotmeplzzz” Robertson was also killed during the event, according to family and friends on Twitter.
Multiple outlets are reporting that the shooter, David “Bread” Katz, left the tournament after being knocked out of the event only to return with handgun. Police have not confirmed the motive.
Both Clayton and Robertson are beloved professional gamers in the Madden community, and were both noted as favorites for the qualifying event. Robertson, a West Virginia resident, was named Madden 17 Classic champion a year ago, with a 72 percent win rate in live head-to-head events. He’s won over $80,000 in prize money from Madden events.
“[Robertson] has the skill to completely take over any Madden tournament,” EA Sports wrote about the 27-year-old husband and father in a profile on its website. “It’s been a while since he’s won an EA Major, but his potent offensive talent paired with his skill on defense makes him one of the toughest opponents in competitive Madden.”
Clayton, 22, from California, was a favorite to “potentially win it all” at the season’s culminating tournament, Madden Bowl. That was despite what EA Sports described as a “rough season” for the player. Though he was one of the more consistently good players in competitive Madden, he’d “been the victim of some early exits,” the article said.
Madden 18 Bowl champion Shay “Young Kiv” Kivlen, who was also at the Jackonsville event, tweeted on Aug. 26 that Clayton was one of his best friends, someone he spoke with everyday “for the last five years.” Kivlen said Clayton was “one of the most kind and genuine people” in his life.
As a player, Clayton was known for his “elite stickwork,” meaning the way he’s able to manipulate the controller, to “juke, spin, and hurdle his way around his opponents,” according to EA Sports. As a person, he described himself as “a cool dude,” someone who’s easy to get along with. Friends and family on Twitter agree.
Other participants at the Madden 19 qualifying event tweeted about the horrific events, including Bucks Gaming NBA 2K League player Timothy “oLARRY” Anselimo and compLexity Gaming Madden 19 player Drini “Young Drini” Gjoka. Anselimo was shot three times—in the hand, thigh, and chest—according to his mother. “Still in shock,” Anselimo tweeted this morning. “Woke up crying knowing today’s surgery will determine if I’ll ever be able to play video games again.”
Gjoka was shot once in the hand, according to a tweet from his personal Twitter account. “I am literally so lucky,” he wrote. “The bullet hit my thumb.”
The gaming community continues to mourn the victims of the Jacksonville shooting, where nine others were shot. Two more victims were injured while fleeing the GLHF Game Bar on Aug. 26. EA Sports released a statement, calling the shooting a “senseless act of violence.”