Witness: Jacksonville gunman was eliminated from tournament before shooting

U.S. & World
Mall Shooting Florida_1535362412089-846652698

Police cars block off a street near the scene of a mass shooting as law enforcement investigators work on the area at Jacksonville Landing in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018. Florida authorities are reporting multiple fatalities at the riverfront mall that was hosting a video game tournament. Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. […]

A video game tournament announcer says he is blessed to be alive after surviving a deadly mass shooting in Jacksonville.

Toshiba Sharon was at Jacksonville Landing announcing a Madden tournament on Sunday afternoon when shots rang out.

“After the first shot. I thought it was a technical difficulty,” he said. “After the second shot, I zoomed in on the gunman – my eyes and attention went there. We put the table up kinda like a barricade.”

Sharon was just feet away from the shooter, identified as David Katz. The announcer told WFLA that Katz was eliminated from the tournament and left. About 15 minutes later, Sharon says Katz came back and opened fire.

“I didn’t know if I should lay there and pretend to be dead,” Sharon said, telling WFLA he heard shooting for about 40 seconds.

Deputies say Katz eventually took his own life. Before he did, authorities say he killed 22-year-old Eli Clayton and 27-year-old Taylor Robertson.

Clayton was a gamer from California who was playing when the shooting started. Sharon says the young man didn’t even have time to react before he was killed.

“At first, he got shot, he didn’t know what was going on,” Sharon recalled. “And then he got shot repeatedly.”

When Sharon ran outside to try and help others, he found Robertson, a husband and father from West Virginia.

“I think I witnessed him breathing his last breath,” Sharon said with a wavering voice.

As the announcer continues to try and come to terms with what happened on Sunday, he realizes things could have turned out much different for him.

“I am blessed to be alive. I am not lucky, I’m blessed,” he said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

STORY TOOLS

Today's Central OH Forecast

More Forecast

Alexa

Storm Team 4 on Alexa

W3Schools