Condolences and loving tributes have started pouring in from family, friends and fans of the two victims in yesterday’s Jacksonville mass shooting, Eli “TrueBoy” Clayton and Taylor “SpotMeplzzz” Robertson.
Clayton, 22, and Robertson, 27, were both prominent members of the competitive Madden NFL community. They were beloved by fans, and other competitors in the gaming space.
Profiles of both players appear on EA’s Madden website. Clayton, who hailed from Woodland Hills, California, is described as “one of the best in competitive Madden,” and a “frequent face in EA Majors.” Clayton boasted a 40 percent win rate, according to his profile. Robertson, from Ballard, West Virginia, won last season’s Madden Classic tournament, and is described as “one of the toughest opponents in competitive Madden.”
Much of the attention following the shooting, which left another 12 injured, has been on Clayton and Robertson. Michael Clayton, one of Eli’s relatives, posted on his Facebook account, thanking everyone for their thoughts.
“To God be the Glory...Please continue to lift me, my family and my children in prayer at this time,” Michael wrote. “Thank you all for the phone calls, prayers and visits. Standing in the need of prayer. Asking for traveling grace to Jacksonville.”
Keshawn Fields, a competitive Madden sports player, wrote a heartfelt message for Clayton, sending his condolences to Clayton’s family.
“4eva my brother,” Fields wrote. “Rest in Heaven lil bro.. We gon miss u! It gon take alot not hearing your voice in the parties or seeing u type in the group chat.. [Don’t know] how to shake dis. To your family … I’m Sorry he was a great friend, and will be missed and never forgotten.”
Both Calabasas High School and Chaminade College Preparatory in Los Angeles posted messages of condolences for Clayton, their former student. Chaminade’s statement was given to Buzzfeed News, who referred to Clayton as a “sweet, mild-mannered young man.”
“Our hearts are broken as we learned that former Calabasas Football player Elijah Clayton was senselessly murdered today during the mass shooting in Florida,” a tweet from Calabasas High School’s football team reads. “We send our love, condolences, and deepest sense of sorrow to Elijah’s Family and Friends.”
Dot City Gaming, the esports team Robertson played for, also sent out condolences.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless violence in Jacksonville and the tragic deaths of Dot City Gaming team member, Taylor ‘SpotMePlzzz’ Robertson, and Eli ‘Trueboy’ Clayton,” the organization tweeted. “They were great competitors and well-loved members of the Madden community. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to their families, loved ones, and all of those affected by this tragedy.”
Many players — and Madden NFL fans — have changed their Twitter profile pictures in tribute to Clayton and Robertson, as seen in the photo below.
Other players, like Eric “Problem” Wright, “Volt,” Shay “YoungKiv” Kivlen and Steven “Steveyj” Javaruski, all tweeted out their condolences for Clayton and Robertson.
“Crying and in so much pain,” Wright said. “Prayers to the families of Trueboy and Spotme. All over a videogame. Two of our brothers are gone man and its so disturbing. One of the most tragic days ive experienced. This community is like family. Broken.”
“SpotMe: quiet family man making a living doing what he loves,” Volt tweeted. “True: a young kid with a whole world of opportunity in front of him. My heart is heavy, today we lost 2 champions. Rest in paradise, brothers. My condolences to those effected.”
“RIP Elijah Clayton,” Kivlen said. “One of my best friends in life. I talked to u almost everyday for the last 5 years. U were one of the most kind and genuine people I’ve ever met. I love u like a brother. I’m gonna miss hearing you laugh everyday and seeing your genuine smile.”
“RIP to Trueboy and Spotme,” Javaruski said. “This is the worst day of my life.”
Thoughts from longtime fans of the players also appeared on Twitter. One father, whose son has played with Clayton before, offered this heartfelt message.
“‘Dad, I’ve played games with TrueBoy’ — my oldest just now,” he tweeted. “Kids hurt. I’m here trying to figure out what the hell to tell him about this.”
Jacksonville authorities are still investigating the motive surrounding the shooting, but eyewitness accounts suggest the shooter was upset after losing a match during the tournament. Witness statements are still being sorted through, but the Jacksonville’s sheriff office should have more details about the case later today.
Update: Madden NFL publisher Electronic Arts released a statement today confirming through authorities that Clayton and Robertson were killed at the event.
“Their deaths are an inconceivable tragedy, and we offer our deepest sympathies to their families, to those injured and everyone affected by this,” EA said. “Many of us at EA knew Elijah and Taylor well, and their positive, competitive spirit and respect for other players were evident to everyone. They earned the admiration of all who watched them compete, and we will miss them greatly. We are committed to supporting their families through this difficult time.”
Polygon has updated an earlier version of this report.