The esports community is mourning gamers Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton after they were killed in a mass shooting while competing in a “Madden NFL 19 Classic” qualifier in Jacksonville on Sunday.
The shooting occurred at GLHF Game Bar in The Jacksonville Landing, where Robertson and Clayton were attempting to qualify for October’s national Madden NFL video game competition in Las Vegas. Robertson won the event in 2017, and Clayton is considered among the world’s best Madden players.
Both Robertson and Clayton played high school football before competing professionally online.
Taylor Robertson, a.k.a. SpotmePlzzz
Robertson, 27, starred last decade for James Monroe High School’s football team in Monroe County, West Virginia. He rushed for 1,871 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior in 2007, leading his high school to the Class AA state title game and capture all-area player of the year honors. Robertson earned First Team All-State recognition at defensive back in 2008, reaching the state semifinals again as a senior.
Robertson was living in nearby Ballard with his wife and child when he was killed in Jacksonville.
This guy had a family.. He loved the game of madden and wanted to earn from it.. Rest In Piece spotmeplzzz – pic.twitter.com/nPHqtTSPOk
— Ethan #MaddenStrong💔 (@yaboizaper) August 26, 2018
Recognized in the gaming community by his handle SpotmePlzzz, Robertson won more than $80,000 playing competitive Madden, according to his EA Sports profile, which describes him as “one of the toughest opponents” in the game, with “the skill to completely take over any Madden tournament.”
Robertson competed for the Dot City Gaming professional esports team.
(1/2) 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 “Trueboy” Clayton.
— Dot City Gaming (@DotCityGaming) August 27, 2018
(2/2) 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.
— Dot City Gaming (@DotCityGaming) August 27, 2018
Elijah Clayton, a.k.a. Trueboy
Like Robertson, the 22-year-old Clayton played prep football, competing earlier this decade for Los Angeles-area schools Chaminade College Prep and Calabasas High before turning pro as a gamer.
Our hearts are broken as we learned that former Calabasas Football player @True__818 (Elijah Clayton) was senselessly murdered today during the mass shooting in Florida. We send our love, condolences, and deepest sense of sorrow to Elijah's Family and Friends pic.twitter.com/xhdQ8TLg0d
— CHS Coyote Football (@CalabasasFtball) August 27, 2018
According to his EA Sports profile, Clayton was “consistently one of the best in competitive Madden” and could have “potentially [won] it all.” He finished seventh at the Madden NFL 18 Classic and had taken home more than $50,000 in prizes during pro competition prior to this past weekend’s event.
RIP @True__818 Elijah Clayton. One of my best friends in life. I talked to u almost everyday for the last 5 years. U were one of the most kind and genuine people I’ve ever met. I love u like a brother. I’m gonna miss hearing you laugh everyday and seeing your genuine smile. pic.twitter.com/Balk88T1ES
— Kiv (@young_kiv) August 26, 2018
According to The Los Angeles Times, Clayton can be seen smiling on camera when a red dot appears on his sweater before the Twitch broadcast of Sunday’s qualifying competition switched to video of him scoring a touchdown. Eleven gunshots could then be heard on the audio feed of the broadcast.
“Those were his last actions: A touchdown and a smile,” one of Clayton’s friends in the gaming community, Damon Kirk, told the L.A. Times. “Then the guy started shooting.”
Report: Shooter eliminated from Madden qualifier in Jacksonville
At least nine others were wounded by gunfire at Sunday’s competition, according to CNN. Two more suffered injuries escaping the shooting, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced. Of the six gunshot wound victims treated at University of Florida Health Jacksonville’s trauma center on Sunday, four were discharged, a fifth is in good condition and one remains in serious condition, the hospital said.
Police identified the shooter as David Katz, a 24-year-old gamer from Baltimore. He was eliminated from qualifying competition in Jacksonville before carrying out the shooting, per the L.A. Times. Katz “targeted a few people,” Stephen Javaruski, a gamer who survived the shooting, told the publication. Katz died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after killing Robertson and Clayton, authorities said.
Sunday marked the fourth recent mass shooting in Florida, following the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting that claimed 49 victims in Orlando, the 2017 Fort Lauderdale airport shooting that killed five people and February’s Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 victims dead in Parkland.
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