By Bernie Woodall
(Reuters) – Elijah Clayton, one of two men killed on Sunday at a video gaming competition in Jacksonville, Florida, was a peaceful young man who had “never even had a fist fight,” his cousin said.
Brandi Pettijohn said her family was “devastated” by the fatal shooting of the 22-year-old Clayton, from Woodland Hills, California, who went by the name “True.”
Taylor Robertson, 27, of Giles, West Virginia, was the second player killed on Sunday. He went by the name “SpotmePlzzz.”
“Elijah’s family wants you to know he was a good man. He did not believe in violence. He never even had a fist fight,” Pettijohn said to reporters on Monday. She and others in Clayton’s family flew to Jacksonville from California on Sunday night.
Both of the men killed were elite players, also called gamers, of the Madden football video game made by EA Sports, a division of Electronic Arts Inc.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said the suspect in the shootings had walked past people at a pizza restaurant, which housed the room where the tournament was held, and targeted competitors.
Social media and local media reports in West Virginia showed Robertson was the father of a young son and that he and his wife were married in 2013.
A GoFundMe page raising donations for Robertson’s family had raised about $10,000 of a $100,000 goal by Monday afternoon.
Another GoFundMe page for the families of both men called the “Madden Community Fallen Angels” by Monday afternoon had raised about $13,000 of its $100,000 goal.
Robertson was a football player while he was in high school in Monroe County, West Virginia, and he grew up helping his father do chores on a farm, a local media report showed.
Pettijohn said Clayton had six brothers and three sisters. Clayton’s parents stood behind Pettijohn as she addressed reporters on Monday.
“As you all can imagine, we are devastated by yet another senseless act of gun violence. Every person who has stood in this position has said that they never thought this would happen to their family, and we are no different,” Pettijohn said.
Clayton was saving his winnings from competitive gaming to pay for college, Pettijohn said.
He had earned about $51,000 playing Madden football and Robertson had earned about $80,000, EA Sports said on its website.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Chris Reese)