There is a very interesting twist developing in the investigation into this past weekend’s mass shooting down in Jacksonville, Florida. And it’s raising questions about whether this incident should have even been able to occur in the first place.
The Florida Times-Union newspaper is reporting that the pizza restaurant which was hosting the Madden ’19 video game tournament where the shooting happened Sunday should not have had the room where this tournament was happening. The city’s fire marshal, according to the paper, has cited the Chicago Pizza restaurant for having what they called an “un-permitted” game room. According to an inspection report cited by the Times-Union, fire marshals claim that the restaurant altered a layout plan which was last approved by the fire department in 2009 without the department’s approval in order to create that game room where the tournament took place, essentially making it, in the department’s words, an “un-permitted” area.
A statement from fire officials was especially telling. “If Chicago Pizza would not have altered the layout plan by creating an un-permitted game room area, the video game tournament would not have occurred, and thus, this incident would not have occurred at the Jacksonville Landing,” the Jacksonville fire department statement read, reported the Times-Union. “This area was neither authorized nor a part of their submitted and approved building layout plan.”
In addition, according to the newspaper, department inspectors found several other violations in the restaurant via a visual inspection of the establishment last night through their front windows, resulting in a so-called “cease and desist” order that could affect when or if the restaurant will reopen.
In this past Sunday’s shooting, police allege one of the competitors in the Madden ’19 tournament, a 24-year old from Maryland named David Katz, opened fire on fellow competitors, killing a pair of them and injuring several more before turning the gun on himself.
The restaurant’s management told the Times-Union they were surprised by the citation from fire officials, and are currently reviewing it.
How this development will impact the investigation and the surrounding gun rights debate that ensued following it remains to be seen.