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Breaking Angles: Shooting At Madden ESports Qualifier in Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Landing by Michel Curi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Breaking Angles: Shooting At Madden ESports Qualifier in Jacksonville


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Editor’s Note: The following includes graphic descriptions of violence that may be triggering to some. It is also the policy of The Turf that unless it is vital information, we choose not to put the shooter’s name so as not to increase their notoriety, but instead choose to highlight the victims.

By now you’ve probably already heard the news that on Sunday during an EA Sports Madden qualifying tournament, a gunman opened fire injuring 11 people, and taking the lives of two others before turning the weapon on himself.

Around 1:30 PM on Sunday, the Jacksonville Police Department received a 911 call reporting a shooting at the Chicago Pizza in Jacksonville Landing. Jacksonville Landing is an open-air “festival market” that is situated right on the bank of the St. John’s River, just over a mile away from TIAA Bank Field where the Jacksonville Jaguars play. The shooting did not, in fact, take place at Chicago Pizza, but in the adjacent GLHF Game Bar, which happens to share a door with the pizza joint.

The event was a qualifier for a national Madden competition sponsored by EA Sports with the winner taking home $5,000. According to EA Sports website, the top two competitors would also “earn a spot in the Round of 16 at the Madden Classic main event in Las Vegas, Nevada in October along with travel accommodations. At the Madden Classic Live Finals, competitors will play for a share of the tournament’s $165K prize pool, with the winner taking home $25K, and both the winner and runner-up earning a spot at this season’s Madden Bowl in April.”

While the 911 calls were made after the shooting began, others outside of the Game Bar had a front row seat as well. The tournament was being live streamed on Twitch, the online platform recently bought by Amazon for just under a billion dollars. Twitch has been the go-to site for amateur eSports and has been the best way to stream competitions like the one held this weekend. Unfortunately, that means the entire shooting was recorded.

As reported by the LA Times, gunman was a competitor who had lost his earlier match and came back to open fire. 

This event was the first of four that were to be taking place prior to the Las Vegas Main Event, and EA Sports has not mentioned any plans to shut down the other three. However, EA Sports did put out the following statement at 10 PM on Sunday.

Surely over the next few days and weeks we’ll hear more and more about this incredibly heinous and tragic event. We here at The Turf want you to know that our coverage of this event and the eSports world, will never include any graphic details without a warning, and we will not be using the perpetrator’s name.

Instead, we keep the victims and their families in our thoughts. 

Taylor Robertson, 27, was a star for the  James Monroe High School football team in Monroe County, West Virginia. As a junior in 2007, he rushed for 1,871 yards and crossing the goaline 28 time on route to a Class AA title game. Robertson would also receive all-area player of the year honors in 2007, and First Team All-State recognition at defensive back in 2008. Robertson lived in nearby Ballard with his wife and child. 

“SpotmePlzzz”, Robertson’s gaming handle, was known for being one of the toughest Madden players out there. Robertson won more than $80,000 playing competitive Madden, according to his EA Sports profile, with competitiors saying he possessed “the skill to completely take over any Madden tournament.”

Elijah Clayton, 22, played prep school football in Los Angeles before becoming a pro gamer. According to his EA Sports profile, TrueBoy, Clayton’s gaming handle, 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.

This is not normal, and we here at The Turf are going to keep that promise to the two people who lost their lives today while trying to enjoy a video game that was designed as a teaching tool for the game of Football.

This is not normal. We will continue to fight. 

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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