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Madden developer shot to death in parking lot altercation

Jonathan Sullivan, 27, was part of EA Tiburon’s gameplay team

Rex Dickson
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

A developer of the Madden NFL franchise for EA Sports was killed this weekend after an altercation in a restaurant parking lot. Police have the assailant in custody, and he has been charged with murder.

Jonathan Sullivan, 27, died of multiple gunshot wounds sustained Sunday evening in the parking lot of an Ocala, Fla. restaurant. He had been part of the Madden NFL gameplay team since May 2016. Rex Dickson, the series' creative director, noted Sullivan's death in a tweet this morning.

According to the Star-Banner of Ocala, Sullivan had assaulted Robert Bavle, 23, in the parking lot of a local eatery. Bavle produced a firearm and shot at Sullivan twice; as Sullivan fled, Bavle continued firing. Investigators say Bavle shot at Sullivan at least 13 times. Sullivan died of his wounds en route to a local hospital.

Bavle is in custody on $50,000 bond, charged with second-degree murder.

An investigator's report notes that while Sullivan may have provoked the altercation, Bavle pursued him with the firearm "and then stood over him and continued to shoot at him while Sullivan was on the ground." A bystander, also armed, held Bavle at gunpoint until authorities arrived.

“We are all shocked and deeply saddened by Jon Sullivan’s passing," a spokesman for EA Tiburon, where Madden NFL is developed, said in a statement to Polygon. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones. Sully was a much-loved member of our team at EA Tiburon, and his presence will be sorely missed.”

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