Handling the downtown Jacksonville shift on a Sunday usually means life at a Sunday driver pace for Jacksonville Fire Rescue Station 1.
“Today started out as many Sundays do downtown .... fairly quiet, not much happening,” a Sunday night post on the station’s Facebook page started. “So, to take advantage of our unusual downtime, L1 and E1 decided to go to a fairly empty parking garage on Hogan Street to do some elevator training as a group. The training was productive and uneventful as three of us stood out in front of the parking garage discussing various tactics and telling war stories.”
Suddenly, Sunday turned into a future “war story.” Fire rescue workers noticed people racing from Jacksonville Landing, across the street, as the tragic shooting at the EA Madden ‘19 tournament began.
“This was an odd sight to all of us and quite perplexing. Suddenly, a man runs up to us and says ‘I’ve been shot!’
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“A few of us tended to the injured guy who approached us, and the rest of us formed a team and moved cautiously across the street to the restaurant this guy came from. Our active shooter training told us the scene needed to be cleared by (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) before we were to enter. Fortunately, JSO was quick to act on this day.”
When they got inside the restaurant, “this was a scene that none of us will soon forget, and probably just too graphic to put the details out on social media. To sum it up, multiple people were dead on scene, and even more people were injured....”
The post closed “We are a Station full of tradition, we laugh together, we play together, and today we went as deep into the trenches together as we probably can. We go together and we leave together. One team, one family.”
Two men playing in the tournament, 27-year-old West Virginian Taylor Robertson and 22-year-old Californian Eli Clayton, were killed.
The shooter killed himself.
Six people were taken to UF Health Jacksonville’s trauma center. As of Monday morning, the hospital stated, four had been released. One was in good condition. One was still in serious condition.