JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Stories of survival are emerging from Jacksonville a day after a shooter opened fire at a gaming competition.
Timothy Anselimo lives in Riverview. His mother said he was shot three times, on Sunday, when he attended the Madden 19 Tournament at the Jacksonville Landing. Anselimo is a professional gamer. In the gaming community, he’s known as 'OLARRY.' He was drafted by the NBA 2K Milwaukee Bucks.
Anselimo’s mother, Sujeil Lopez, said he returned to Florida from Wisconsin a week ago.
“For him to come to a gaming event where, as his mother, I thought he’d be safe and he wasn’t, it’s insane,” Lopez said.
Lopez said her son was shot in the chest, hip, and hand. She said her son is devastated by the shooting. He does not know if he will be able to play again.
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“He made it and he’s alive, but if he can’t play and he can’t work and he can’t do this, his life will be changed forever,” Lopez said.
Anselimo told his mother if he cannot play again, he is determined to work for the NBA 2K league.
“He just can’t believe that this happened to him,” Lopez said.
According to authorities, 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore attended the competition and killed two people Sunday afternoon. Authorities said he injured several additional people. They suffered gunshot wounds. Investigators said Katz then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide. They have not released a motive for the shooting.
Lopez described what her son did to escape the Jacksonville Landing. The tournament was held at Chicago Pizza.
“My son was shot twice. He fell. He had to jump over the fence and when he got up to leave that’s when he got shot the third time. His friend picked him up. They just literally jumped over a fence and [were] at the Hooters,” Lopez said.
According to the family that is where Anselimo stayed until help arrived. They credit a Hooters employee for helping save their son.
Lopez expressed her gratitude to everyone who has reached out to her family.
“He’s destroyed right now with what has happened to him. Our main focus right now is to get him better -back to where he needs to be,” Lopez said.
Chris McFarland saw Anselimo at Hoosters after they both escaped.
“I remember I was in Hooters with him afterward and that’s when you just saw the sheer terror on everyone’s face,” McFarland said.
McFarland was grazed by a bullet. He said he heard a loud noise, but did not think it was a gunshot.
“After a couple more shots, I actually got hit in the head. That’s when I decided it’s time to drop to the floor,” McFarland said.
McFarland lives in Pennsylvania and was in town for the tournament. He said it was chaotic.
“People were running all over the place. I actually just fell on the ground and I was able to look at the shooter. I can vividly remember this guy aiming a handgun shooting people in the crowd,” McFarland said.
McFarland said he cannot stop thinking about the shooting, the friends he lost, those who were injured, and about the gaming community.
“You hear about these stories a lot, but now I was in the middle of a room getting shot at and seeing my friends dead,” he said.
McFarland said his life will change forever after what he witnessed.
“Whatever he had going on in his life that is just something that drove him to do this heinous act toward a group of people that really love each other,” McFarland said.