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EA cancels remaining Madden Classic qualifying events in wake of deadly shooting

In video captured from the livestreaming network Twitch, a popular service for broadcasting professional gaming matches, shots can be heard as two players began a kickoff return. The video feed was quickly replaced by the message “controller disconnected.”

Electronic Arts has canceled its three remaining Madden Classic qualifying events, including one in Southern California, in the wake of the deadly shooting that took place Sunday at another such qualifier, CEO Andrew Wilson said in a statement released Monday night.

Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton — two of the competitors playing “Madden NFL 19” at Chicago Pizza in Jacksonville, Fla. — died after 24-year-old David Katz opened fire with a hand gun.

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Twelve others were wounded by gunshot before Katz, a fellow gamer who had been eliminated from the competition earlier in the day, took his own life, police said.

Wilson said in his statement: “I know many of us, myself included, are filled with shock and grief. Our teams have been working non-stop to do what we can to respond to this terrible situation.”

The tournament was the first of four scheduled qualifying events sanctioned by EA Sports to determine the playing field of the Madden Classic, a tournament with a top prize of $25,000, in October.

The other qualifiers were scheduled to take place next month at eSports Arena in Santa Ana, Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va., and Java Gaming Cafe in Carrollton, Texas.

But after Sunday’s killings, Wilson stated, “we have made a decision to cancel our three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events while we run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators. We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events.”

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