Jacksonville shooter came from Jewish home in Baltimore

Federal authorities were at a home in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Sunday as part of an investigation into the Jacksonville mass shooting. Photo by Justin Fenton/TNS/Newscom

BALTIMORE — Authorities in Jacksonville confirmed that David Bennett Katz, 24, was the shooter at the “Madden NFL 19” tournament on Sunday that left three dead, including Katz himself, and many wounded. News reports indicated that Katz was Jewish, and an unnamed law enforcement source confirmed that Katz’s father was Jewish.

Katz, who graduated from Hammond High School in Howard County, according to reports, also spent time at the University of Maryland, though he was not enrolled last semester, university president Wallace Loh tweeted.

ATF and FBI agents descended on Katz’s father’s home in Baltimore on Sunday night, and photographs from the scene reportedly showed a mezuzah on the doorway, according to The Times of Israel.

Katz’s parents are divorced, and documents from the divorce show Katz had extensive medical and psychiatric issues, according to reports. Katz’s father, Richard, is a NASA engineer, an agency spokeswoman confirmed, and his mother, Elizabeth, is a toxicologist for the FDA, according to court documents.


Katz, who played as “Bread,” “mrslicedbread,” “ravenschamp” and “ravens2012champ,” was a former Madden tournament champion, winning the 2017 tournament in Buffalo. He had been eliminated from the tournament prior to the attack. The tournament was a qualifying round for the finals in Las Vegas, with a prize of $5,000.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Katz carried two handguns and extra ammunition, “however, at this point we believe he only fired one handgun,” he said at a press conference Monday.

Williams also said that Katz had recently purchased two handguns in the Baltimore area, according to The Baltimore Sun.

“The suspect clearly targeted other gamers who were in the back room of Chicago Pizza participating in this tournament,” he said.

The tournament took place in the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar that shares space with the pizzeria at the Jacksonville Landing, a collection of restaurants and shops along the St. Johns River. The event was being livestreamed on Twitch, and videos on social media show two other players in the midst of a game when the shooting began. The visual element abruptly cut off, but the audio remained, and shots and cries of pain are clearly audible.

Two of the gamers at the event were killed: Elijah Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, Calif., and past championship winner Taylor Robertson, 28, of Giles, W.Va.

No motive has been determined.

Jesse Bernstein is a reporter for the Baltimore Jewish Times.

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