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Ryen Aleman had headphones and a controller in his hands as he played the popular football video game Madden NFL at a tournament in Jacksonville when loud pops were heard from behind him. Other competitors started firing from the room. Something was wrong, he thought. Realizing that these were shots, Aleman told his video game opponent and told him to follow his example.
"Let's crawl, let's crawl to the bathroom," he said.
They moved as fast as they could on their hands and knees, both stepped into a stable, closed the door behind them, and both stood on the toilet, thinking the sight of their feet under the stable could kill the shooter
"I prayed and I said, 'Do not worry, stay with me & # 39; to his tournament competitor, who suddenly took a very different role: survival partner.
The two were caught In the melee, when an armed man stalked through the venue at around 1:30 pm where the game tournament took place, in the same building as a pizza shop in Jacksonville Landing downtown. David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, opened the fire, killed two people and injured or injured 11 others before he killed himself, police said.
"I can not tell you if we stay alive or not" If he opens this stable, he will shoot us, "Aleman told his companion," If that's the case, this could be our last day. "
While the two men were struggling, a horrible soundtrack filled the bathroom's bathroom floor.
"You could hear people crying," he said. "You could hear people saying, 'I'm shot', you hear People stumble, try to walk, run around everywhere to run their lives. "
After a few minutes, the gunfire seemed to stop almost as abruptly as it had begun.
" Let's go, "Aleman advised his companion." Let's take our chances and go, "he said before rushing out.
" When I came out, I saw three bodies unconscious on the floor, "he said.
Aleman left the mess and greeted a taxi and said the driver, he should take him to the airport, where he is in his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, would fly back where he works as a roofer.
"The plane ride kept coming back in my head, it was very scary," he said.
At a press conference on Sunday evening, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry told reporters that shooting was "too commonplace."
"Tonight we pray for the wounded and we pray for the families of those who have been lost," said Curry.
A video of the Madden football match that was just going live Streaming on social media network Twitch shows that the game is coming to a standstill. The message "Controller Disconnected" appears in a pop-up box. While the audience watched the session from across the country, the frozen screen was interrupted by shots and ranting channels. At some point you keep hearing "oh my god".
The authorities said on Sunday that eleven people were injured. Nine of the wounded suffered gunshot wounds, but officials say everyone will survive. The police have not yet disclosed the identity of the two men shot dead. Officials would not say if Katz, the shooter, knew one of the victims.
In Baltimore, where Katz lived, the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched his home and left the grounds with items in a box.
Twitch, the platform where the tournament play was broadcast live during filming, said in a statement that "we are shocked and saddened by the tragedy in Jacksonville". "Twitch and all his associates send our deepest sympathy to the victims, their loved ones and all of us in our community who mourn."
On the website of Electric Arts, which has sold more than 100 million copies of the Madden series, the company called the incident a "meaningless act of violence that we strongly condemn."
Aleman, who wanted to travel to Virginia for another Madden competition next week, has reservations about it. Still shaken by Sunday, he said he needed time to heal and process the events.
While gamer rage – a bad loser who reacts with anger – is something that players discuss openly online, it's usually short and self contained, Aleman said.
Although authorities still need to determine a motive for shooting, Aleman and several other witnesses said Katz had been eliminated in a previous round at the Jacksonville tournament after winning a similar contest in February.
Sometimes I get angry, I break my controllers … But I will not let it out on my adversary, "Aleman said," People are going crazy, but they're not doing what he's done. "
Aleman said he knew the two victims well played with them, but he did not know the shooter, speculating on a motive, he wonders why anyone wants to kill the result of a video game.
"I do not know What he was thinking of, "he said," I just do not get it. "