Miami-Dade gamer who survived Jacksonville mass shooting shares ordeal

HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida gamer who was one of the finalists in the Jacksonville tournament where a mass shooting took place described the chilling moments when he realized his life was in danger.

Abbot Lopez has returned to his home in Southwest Miami-Dade after surviving Sunday afternoon’s shooting at the Jacksonville Landing complex.

The gamer said the sound of gunfire disrupted the competition, as finalists played a John Madden football video game.

“Pretty much everyone inside the place was in the middle of a game, and all of a sudden you hear gunshots,” he said. “You hear some people screaming, everyone just ducks to the ground. Some people just ran, some people just waited for the gunshots [to stop].”

When asked what was going through his mind, Lopez replied, “Just fear, fear that my life could be lost, everyone else around, also, the public. Not even just me, but the people working at the event. There was just fear all around.”

Lopez was one of four finalists in a two-day Madden Classic qualifying event. Audio from the tournament captured the gunshots, followed by the sound of something falling to the floor.

“Pretty much all the players were in the same room as the shooter,” he said.

When asked how close the gunfire came to him, Lopez said the room the contestants were in was small.

“It was pretty much the same room so the size of any normal bedroom, probably like a big bedroom,” he said.

Once he heard the shots, Lopez said the natural reaction was to duck.

“That’s the only thing we could do,” he said.

Lopez said he’s aware just how fortunate he is to have made it out alive.

“It could have been any of us that were there who could have lost their lives,” he said. “Unfortunately, two people did. It’s just a tragedy.”

Lopez said he considered the deceased victims, 22-year-old Elijah Clayton and 28-year-old Taylor Robertson, good friends.

“‘TrueBoy,’ that’s Eli Clayton, I believe, was a friend of mine. He was really nice to me,” he said. “Same thing with ‘Spotmeplzz.’ I believe that’s Taylor Robertson, really nice guy. He has a wife. He has kids. Guys like that don’t deserve to lose their lives.”

Lopez said he saw suspected shooter Eli Katz before the shooting, but he never imagined that something like this could occur.

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