In a deadly shooting last weekend, 24-year-old David Katz opened fire on a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. He shot and killed two competitors: Elijah "Trueboy" Clayton and Taylor "SpotMePlzzz" Robertson. While these were the only two deaths besides his own, Katz was also responsible for wounding 10 more during his attack. One of these victims was Jacob Mitich, a college student who traveled from Maryland to "do what he loved."
Mitich was shot twice while fleeing the scene, but managed to escape and find refuge in an office building. He was distraught when he later discovered that his friend, Taylor, had not made it out alive.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Mitich is now suing eight different defendants for negligence, including Electronic Arts and the Jacksonville Landing mall. He and his representatives claim that EA "failed to provide a safe and secure environment" for those attending the competition. They also pointed out that venue, Chicago Pizza, was unsafe, and did not have the necessary permits to host the tournament.
EA and Chicago Pizza have declined to comment on the lawsuit. However, EA has canceled the remaining event qualifiers and has instead chosen to focus on supporting the victims. According to Kotaku, they have created a fund called "The Jacksonville Tribute" and donated a million dollars to help those affected by the tragedy, including the families of Elijah Clayton and Taylor Robertson.However, Mitich's representatives argue that this is not enough. In a statement made regarding the case, James Young, an attorney with the law firm Morgan & Morgan, said the following.
"Like many of his friends, Jacob Mitich traveled to Jacksonville last weekend to do what he loved. He trusted the event host and organizers, and believed that he was walking into a safe space. That trust was shattered when shots rang out in an over-crowded, since-shut-down, non-permitted space. Combined with an alleged abject failure to provide adequate security, the result was tragic."The lawsuit aims to get justice for Mitich and those affected by the ordeal, many of whom genuinely believed that they were going to die. They are filing against EA and the venue for neglecting to provide a proper venue, security, and screening for the tournament. According to Variety, EA also failed to notify law enforcement about the competition.
"We are bringing this lawsuit to hold those responsible accountable, and to ensure that gamers like Jake are able to get together to pursue their passion without having to fear for their lives."