The chief executive of Redwood City-based Electronic Arts expressed “shock and grief” after a gunman killed two players and wounded 11 at a Madden Classic gaming event in Jacksonville, Fla. on Sunday.
In a statement posted on EA’s website, CEO Andrew Wilson said the company, which publishes the Madden NFL football games, has canceled the remaining qualifier tournaments for the gaming competition while it conducts a comprehensive review of safety protocols for players and fans.
“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’s statement 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.”
The shooting suspect, David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, was identified as a competitor in the tournament who allegedly became upset about losing the game, according to authorities.
Sunday’s competition was the first of four qualifying events for the Madden Classic finals scheduled for Oct. 11-13 in Las Vegas.
“While these qualifying events are operated independently by partners, we work with them to ensure competitive integrity and to gather feedback from players,” Wilson said, adding later, “We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events.”
Wilson says it’s the first time EA has had to confront an issue like this, “and I believe the first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature.”
“Please take time to support each other through this challenging time,” he said.