JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax has learned the City of Jacksonville is considering building a memorial to those injured and killed at the site of the former Jacksonville Landing.
It comes as local gamers prepare to remember a deadly mass shooting at a Madden NFL gaming tournament at the Landing that made national headlines five years ago.
David Katz, 24, opened fire on Aug. 26, 2018, inside the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar inside Chicago Pizza, killing two rival gamers and leaving at least ten others injured, before Katz took his own life.
“People were calling me that day to make sure I was OK, word spread so fast,” said Mark Ronan, who is a manager at Video Game Rescue in Jacksonville. Ronan wasn’t there that day but had hosted Super Smash Brothers tournaments at the gaming bar.
“It’s just isn’t something I never expected in our city,” Ronan said. “and in my own community, it was unsettling.”
The shooting led to dozens of lawsuits against Sleiman Enterprises, the owner of the Landing, Chicago Pizza, and Electronic Arts Inc., the sponsor of the Madden NFL qualifying tournament.
Many of the plaintiffs claimed fear of death and great bodily harm. Most of the cases were dismissed, but it’s unclear how many cases were settled.
The shooting helped lead to the closing of the waterfront mall, which was already in decline.
In its place is Riverfront Plaza. Construction is underway there on a new park with walkways, gardens, a restaurant, and a playground, among other amenities.
As for Ronan, he hopes the memories of what happened that deadly day are not forgotten.
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“I think it’s a big part of Jacksonville history that we recognize what happened here and went through together,” Ronan said. “Definitely [need] recognition for those who lost their lives that day and what become of it [the Landing] in general.”
Ronan said to remember those who were injured or killed that day, set time aside to play games with people whom you care about.
A spokesperson with the city did not give a timeline on when a memorial may be built.