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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Jacksonville shooting suspect had history of mental illness

David Katz had two stints in psychiatric centres and was prescribed anti-psychotics and anti-depressants

A Jacksonville sheriff officer uses police tape to keep people out as law enforcement investigates the shooting at the GLHF Game Bar. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP
A Jacksonville sheriff officer uses police tape to keep people out as law enforcement investigates the shooting at the GLHF Game Bar. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Florida videogame tournament had previously been hospitalised for mental illness, according to court records in his home state of Maryland reviewed by the Associated Press.

Divorce filings from the parents of 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore say that as a teenager he was twice hospitalised in psychiatric facilities and that he was prescribed anti-psychotic and antidepressant medications.

The records show Katz’s parents disagreed on how to care for their troubled son, with his father claiming his estranged wife was exaggerating symptoms of mental illness as part of their long-running and acrimonious custody battle. The couple divorced in 2007.

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Katz killed two people and wounded nine others before fatally shooting himself at the Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, authorities said.

He was known to barely speak to fellow gamers and sometimes exhibited an erratic playing style, according to other competitors, who were baffled that their virtual sport could lead to bloodshed.

“We’ve always known he was a little off and stuff just because he wasn’t social at all,” gamer Shay Kivlen, 21, of Seattle, said on Monday.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams has declined to comment on why Katz opened fire inside a gaming bar connected to a pizzeria at The Jacksonville Landing, a collection of restaurants and shops along the St Johns River. Williams said he used at least one handgun in the attack.

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