Bar where two were killed in fatal Florida Madden shooting shut down for code violations

Fire inspectors have shut down the Florida restaurant and bar that was the scene of a fatal mass shooting during a video gaming tournament.

A bright orange ‘cease and desist’ notice was posted on the door of Chicago Pizza at the Jacksonville Landing on Wednesday.

A city code violation report says the restaurant didn’t have a permit to hold the Madden NFL 19 tournament last weekend.  

On Sunday afternoon 24-year-old former champion gamer David Katz of Baltimore opened fire inside Chicago Pizza, killing two people and injuring nearly a dozen others before killing himself.

Fire inspectors say the layout of the restaurant, last approved in 2009, was altered without approval to create the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar, where the tournament took place.

Chicago Pizza was cited for three violations of the fire code: blocking exits with video game machines and other objects, using strip plugs as permanent wiring and using extension cords as a substitute for permanent wiring.

News4Jax also reported the restaurant was warned over its non-compliance with the 2009 building layout, and a cease and desist notice regarding GLHF was also issued. 

In the summary of his code violation report, fire marshal Kevin Jones suggested there would have been no mass shooting had the restaurant not changed its building layout.

‘If Chicago Pizza would not have altered the layout plan by creating an un-permitted game room area, the video game tournament would not have occurred, and thus, this incident would not have occurred at the Jacksonville Landing,’ he wrote.

‘This area was neither authorized nor a part of their submitted and approved building layout plan.’ 

David Katz shot dead Eli Clayton, 22, and Taylor Robertson, 27, and wounded nine others before killing himself on Sunday.

Two more people were injured while fleeing the chaos. 

Katz, who drove to Jacksonville from his Baltimore home, had legally purchased a .45 caliber handgun and a 9mm pistol in Maryland, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department confirmed.

The shooting broke out as the tournament was being live-streamed around the world and a game was in progress.

In footage of the tournament, one of the players is seen with a dot that appears to be a laser pointer dancing on his chest and neck.

As the live video shot cuts to the action on the virtual football field, gunshots and chilling screams can be heard in the background.

The commentators can be heard going silent as the first gunshots are fired and people begin screaming.

The stream then cuts off and a message appears saying ‘controller disconnected’. 

Police arrived on the scene within two minutes of receiving the first 911 calls at 1.34pm, Sheriff Williams said.

Witnesses said people trampled each other while fleeing the gunfire.

Marquis Williams, 20, says he and his girlfriend, Taylor Poindexter, both from Chicago, were ordering pizza close by when shots erupted. He said on Sunday he didn’t think it was gunfire at first. 

‘Initially we thought it was a balloon popping, but there weren’t any balloons in the room. Then we heard repeat shots and we took off running,’ he said.

Cliff Comastro, the owner of Chicago Pizza and the GLHF Game Bar, said earlier in a statement he and his staff were ‘extremely shocked and saddened’ at the ‘needless loss of life resulting from the senseless shooting’. 

‘This was an isolated incident that occurred during a video gaming tournament being held at GLHF Game Bar for the EA Sports Madden NFL 19 franchise,’ the statement continued.

‘As we grieve with those who were impacted by this tragic incident, we would like to thank the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and all local law enforcement and first responders who acted promptly to contain the situation. Their heroic acts of bravery prevented this incident from further escalation.

‘When we created GLHF (Good Luck, Have Fun) Game Bar, we envisioned a place where the gaming community could gather to share in one of the pursuits that elicits pure joy.

‘Our hearts are broken, but together, we hope to begin the healing process as a community here in Jacksonville.’  


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