The CEO of Electronic Arts, the video game company that publishes the Madden NFL football games, says the game maker will cancel the remainder of the Madden Classic qualifying events after a gunman killed two players at an event in Jacksonville, Florida.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson said in a statement released late Monday that the company decided to cancel the three remaining qualifying events “while we run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators. We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events.”
The video game competition Sunday at the GLHF Game Bar along the St. Johns River entertainment complex in Jacksonville was one of four qualifying events for the Madden Classic finals, scheduled for Oct. 11-13 in Las Vegas. Players compete head-to-head in the realistic NFL video game.
The two killed, Taylor Robertson, 27, of Ballard, West Virginia, and Eli Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, California, were competitors in the tournament.
“First and foremost, it is an unthinkable tragedy that Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton, two of our top Madden competitors, lost their lives in this way,” Wilson said. “They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community. Their love of competition was evident through their participation in our events over the past few years. We are committed to supporting Taylor and Elijah’s families through this difficult time, and we send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones, to those injured yesterday, and everyone affected.”
The suspect, David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, killed two and wounded 11 before taking his own life, police say. A competitor in the tournament, Katz allegedly got upset about losing the game, according to some media reports. The FBI searched a family home in Baltimore on Monday as part of the investigation.
At EA, “our teams have been working non-stop to do what we can to respond to this terrible situation,” Wilson said.
“We’ve all been deeply affected by what took place in Jacksonville. This is the first time we’ve had to confront something like this as an organization, and I believe the first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature,” he said. “Please take time to support each other through this challenging time.”
A message from Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson: https://t.co/1lAIhcWLaG
— Electronic Arts (@EA) August 28, 2018