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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jacob Mitich had made it to round two of the Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, and had almost scored a touchdown when the shots rang out.
Vaulting over a table, he scrambled to exit the crowded room. At first he ran outside to the waterfront where he and friends had watched dolphins the day before. Thinking the shooter might follow, he sprinted for a few more minutes while operating on pure adrenaline.
“That’s when my leg started to hurt bad,” he said. “I thought it was cramping. I went to grab my left leg and there was blood everywhere. I’d been shot.”
Now, Mitich is filing a lawsuit against the game developer that held the tournament, the pizza parlor that hosted the event and the mall where it was located.
The report continued:
Mitich’s attorney, James Young with Morgan & Morgan in Jacksonville, said the lawsuit alleges negligence. There was no off-duty officer for the event, which drew more than 100 people, he said. The mall had a private security guard, and she was spotted in the pizza place before the shooting, but Young said it’s unclear where she was during the shooting.
On Wednesday, Jacksonville fire inspectors shut down Chicago Pizza. A city code violation report says the restaurant didn’t have a permit to hold the Madden NFL 19 tournament. Also, The Florida Times-Union reported that the restaurant’s last approved building layout was submitted in 2009. Fire inspectors said the layout was altered without approval to create the GLHF Game Bar, the room where the tournament took place.
Young said the suit also is seeking relief from Electronic Arts Inc., the game developer, to provide safe spaces for tournaments. The lawsuit said Electronic Arts failed to provide security, screen the gamers, inform local law enforcement about the tournament or tell the gamers anything about the venue. Similar claims about security were made against other defendants.
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