Unfortunately and tragically, communities across the State of Florida and the nation continue to grapple with the challenges and aftermath of mass shootings. A mass shooting took place at the Jacksonville Landing. The Jacksonville Landing is well known to local residents, visitors, and the attendees of the annual University of Florida / University of Georgia Football Game. The Jacksonville Landing sits on the waterfront and has been the central focal point for festivals, concerts, political rallies, and other events. Now, the Jacksonville Landing will now be known and associated with a mass shooting that took place
The Jacksonville Landing was the host of the Madden 19 Video Game Tournament. It was reported that three people died including the shooter and nine people were injured in the shooting. David Katz, age 24, was reported as the shooter by USA Today and other media outlets. His gun was described as a large caliber handgun with a laser sight attachment.
The attendees and guests at this event were simply gathering together to play video games. Unlike Call to Duty and other games, there are not even any guns or weapons in Madden Football. Regardless, innocent people were killed and injured as a result of the careless and senseless acts of the gunman.
In the State of Florida as well as other states, an event organizer / property owner is not liable just because an incident takes place. Florida law provides that a property owner is not an absolute insurer for the safety of visitors. Furthermore, an event organizer is not an absolute insurer of the safety of guests either. However, both the property owner and the event organizer have a duty of due care when hosting and running an event that brings together a crowd of people. Certainly, a full investigation will be completed by local, state, and federal investigators to determine the facts that led to the shooting and whether there may have been acts and / or safety protocols that would have reduced the extent of the harm caused or may even have prevented the incident from taken place. Like other legal cases, the facts will be reviewed from standpoints of reasonableness, foreseeability, and preventability.
The video game community can bring out the best of people as the players participate in a game that they love. Unfortunately, there are those out there who ruin the game for a moment for some and for a lifetime for others. One would think that participating in a Madden Football competition would be a great way to spend the day and night. One would think that it is a great way to “play” competitive “football” without any risks in getting hurt.
David Wolf is a personal injury attorney and child safety advocate based in Jacksonville, Florida. He is the author of 11 books that focus on personal injury and child safety matters. David Wolf has 27 years of experience and has earned an AV Rating and the Client Platinum Awards from the Martindale Hubbell Lawyer Directory.
Whatever the investigation yields, it is clear that the mass shooting at the Jacksonville Landing will have a ripple effect through the victims, families, community, and nation.