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Shooter attacks Madden 19 tournament, calling into question security at esports events

Tragedy struck a gaming bar in Jacksonville during a Madden tournament this weekend, after a shooter killed two people and injured as many as 11 more, according to reports. Officially sanctioned by EA Sports, this has raised serious questions about the security measures in place to protect its attendees.

The Madden NFL 19 tournament was hosted across the weekend in Jacksonville’s Good Luck Have Fun (GLHF) Game Bar, with many of the participants livestreaming the event. The gunman was seen entering the premises around 1:30 pm EDT with at least one handgun equipped with a red laser sight. Three were found dead upon a SWAT team sweep, including the suspected perpetrator, alongside as many as 11 injured.

Two were shot while fleeing, but are believed to have sustained non-life-threatening wounds. Among the injured is complexity Gaming’s professional player Drini Gjoka, who was enjoying an impressive win streak before the tournament was attacked. In what has been the “worst day” of his life, Gjoka told Twitter how lucky he was that it was just his thumb that was shot.

The lead suspect has been identified by police and is believed to have been a regular Madden tournament attendee, even going as far as to win the Madden 17 Bills Championship two years ago. Reports of his motive remain unconfirmed, however it is believed he was either eliminated or disqualified earlier in the day. He was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, bringing the total death count up to three.

The NFL said that it was “shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy” while EA stated how horrible the situation was, ensuring its “deepest sympathies go out to all involved.” Director of esports programmes for Twitch, Christian Tamas said that “unfortunately, this was a matter of when not if. Esport event security, in general, has been extremely poor over the years, we should’ve stepped it up long ago.”

KitGuru Says: It’s less about allocating more manpower to security and more about streamlining it to include pat-downs and measures that will prevent undetected firearms from entering the building. Our thoughts go out to all of the victims in this situation and we hope that this leads to better practices that will protect more people in the future.

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