Jacksonville shooter David Katz had history of mental illness and police contact

Jacksonville gunman David Katz had a history of mental illness and was in treatment as early as 12-years-old, his parents’ divorce records reveal.

The 24-year-old had been taking a number of medications, including an antipsychotic and antidepressant, and seeing psychiatrists over the years leading up to the mass shooting.

Police had been called to his family’s home 26 times over 16 years – twice to deal with Katz after he had been in arguments with his mum Elizabeth

Katz had called police a day after turning 14 complaining that his mum kept taking his video games away as punishment, it was revealed.

Katz killed two rivals at a video game tournament in the Florida city and wounded 11 other people before taking his own life on Sunday afternoon.

Police have revealed that he was armed with two handguns – a 9mm and a .45-calibre – but only used one during his rampage, and he had legally purchased both of them in his home state of Maryland in the last month.

One of the guns was fitted with an aftermarket laser sight.

The shooting happened at a Madden NFL 19 qualifying tournament where professional gamers were trying to win a spot in a Las Vegas event with a $150,000 prize pool.



Elite gamers Elijah (Eli) Clayton, 22, and Taylor Robertson, 27, were killed.

Eyewitnesses said Katz was angry after losing an intense game – thus being eliminated from the two-day competition – and getting into an argument with a gamer.

They said he went to his car, retrieved his guns and then opened fire inside the bar of a Chicago Pizza restaurant, first targeting Clayton.

Distressing video from a live stream of the event shows Clayton playing a game when a red dot from Katz’s gun’s laser appears on his chest.

Katz fires his first shots, setting off panic and confusion.

One eyewitness said the killer was wearing an army green jacket.

People begin screaming as they try to flee or hide, and a man says: "Oh f***, what did he shoot me with?"

At least a dozen shots are heard in the chaos which unfolded as about 150 people were inside the venue.

The rampage ended when Katz, who had driven about 750 miles to the event from his Baltimore home and was staying in a hotel, fatally shot himself.

Police have not yet revealed a motive for the attack.

Family divorce records obtained by CNN show that Katz had been in treatment for psychiatric issues as early as the age of 12, he had been prescribed a number of psychiatric medications and he had seen "a succession of psychiatrists".

A therapist said he had experienced a "psychiatric crisis", according to a court document filed in 2006.

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Police records obtained by CNN show that officers were called 26 times to the family’s home in Columbia, Maryland, between 1993 and 2009.

The calls were for issues ranging from "mental illness" to domestic disputes.

One day after turning 13, police were called to help his mum because he was disrespecting her and his grandmother, and there were issues over the volume of the TV.

One day after his 14th birthday, Katz called police to the family’s home complaining that his mum kept taking his video games away from him as punishment.

Documents revealed that Katz had suffered emotionally as a child and had been prescribed Lexapro, an antidepressant, and Risperidone, an antipsychotic that can be used to treat schizophrenia.

It is understood that Katz had been living with his father Richard, a Nasa engineer, in south Baltimore at the time of the shooting.

His mum Elizabeth, at the time of the divorce, worked for the US Food and Drug Administration.

They had been in an acrimonious custody battle in which they disagreed about how Katz should be treated for his mental illness, CNN reported.

Fellow gamers have told how Katz was "weird" and "nerdy", and displayed a lack of emotion no matter if he won or lost.

An announcer once said during one of his games: “You are not gonna see much emotion from our guy Bread.

"David Katz keeps to himself. He’s a man of business. He’s not here to make friends.

"To even get him to open up to talk to you about anything, it’s like pulling teeth, man."

People who were at the two-day event said Katz had been acting "weird", wore the same clothes on both days, and refused to shake hands and stared blankly after losing a game at the GLHF Gaming Bar on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the victims’ grief-stricken families and friends have been paying heartbreaking tributes to them.


Mr Clayton’s cousin Brandi Pettijohn said her family was "devastated" over his death.

She described him as a peaceful young man who had "never even had a fist fight" and had six brothers and three sisters.

She said: "Elijah’s family wants you to know he was a good man. He did not believe in violence."

Mr Clayton, from Woodland Hills, California, was known as "True" and "Trueboy" on the Madden video game circuit.

He was saving his winnings from competitive gaming to pay for college, his cousin said.

She added: "As you all can imagine, we are devastated by yet another senseless act of gun violence.

"Every person who has stood in this position has said that they never thought this would happen to their family, and we are no different."

Mr Robertson, from Giles, West Virginia, was married and recently became a father following the birth of his son. He went by the name "SpotmePlzzz" online.

He was an American football player when he was in high school and he grew up helping his father do chores on a farm, local media reported.

Mr Robertson had earned about $80,000 from Madden e-sports competitions, while Mr Clayton had earned about $51,000.

Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, the maker of the Madden American football franchise, said the pair were two of the best professional Madden competitors.

He said: "They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community."

Electronic Arts has cancelled its three remaining qualifiers and is reviewing its event security measures.

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]

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