Teacher Prayed, Hid, Survived Jacksonville Shooting

Chris Jasurek
By Chris Jasurek
August 27, 2018US News

NTD Photo

A Florida high school teacher, hid behind a table and prayed that he might survive when a disgruntled gamer opened fire at a Jacksonville event.

Dalton Kent, 22, was hit in the shin, but he did survive. Two others did not.   

The victims were identified by media as Taylor Robertson, 27, of Ballard, West Virginia, the 2017 tournament winner, and Eric Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, California.

The suspected gunman, David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, Maryland, also wounded 11, including Kent, before taking his own life.

Katz was the 2016 tournament winner.

Panic in a Packed Room

Kent teaches history at Treasure Coast High School, where he is also an assistant varsity basketball coach. He was one of about 60 people, half competitors and half spectators, packed into a small room where the actual competition was happening.

“The room was so packed at the time, but then the gunshots went off everybody panicked,” Kent told WPTV.

“The guys near me—we just dove under the table and kind of covered ourselves. We balled up together,” Kent told WPBF.

“I was just praying for my life and I thank God.”   

The teacher, who was also competing in the event, was hit slightly in the left leg, but it didn’t slow him down as he fled.

“I didn’t know who it was, I didn’t see anything, I just—it happened, and I just threw myself under the table and kind of just hoped for the best,” he told WPTV.

“Once about 15–20 shots went off, after it stopped, a lot of people started flooding out the back door; I kind of just followed them. I ran for my life,’ Kent explained.

“When we were running out the backdoor, there was a body on the ground from someone that did get shot. That was definitely pretty hard to see it,” he told WPBF.

High school teacher Dalton Kent prayed, hid, and survived the mass shooting at a Jacksonville gaming tournament. (WPTV screenshot)
High school teacher Dalton Kent prayed, hid, and survived the mass shooting at a Jacksonville gaming tournament on Aug. 26, 2018. (Screenshot/WPTV)

Code Red

Dalton Kent said training he received as a high school teacher for dealing with a Code Red drill helped him survived.

“I teach at Treasure Coast High School and just last week we had our Code Red drill where we’re kind of talking about the same situation with a gunman in school, and then you don’t really think it’s going to happen to you and then here I am in the middle of that situation,” Kent told WPTV.

“I actually got shot when I was under the table. When it happened we just kind of dove under the table. I’m pretty sure a bullet ricocheted and hit me in my shin.”

Location of Jacksonville shooting
Police officers cordon off a street outside The Jacksonville Landing after a shooting during a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida Aug. 26, 2018. (Joey Roulette/Reuters)

Worried Family

Garrett Kent was waiting for news from his brother.

“I was working, and I was waiting for a text back from him because he updates me when he wins or loses,” Garrett Kent told WPTV.

Instead of a text from his brother, he got an emotional phone call from his mother.

“I didn’t answer my mom’s first call, and she said, ‘Call me ASAP emergency,’ which she never does, so I called her right away and just hearing the tears in her voice, I mean my mom is very emotional,” said Garrett Kent.

The whole family got together to support one another while waiting for news about Dalton.

“All of us were just kind of huddled around watching the TV, praying,” Garret Kent said.

NTD Photo
Taylor Poindexter speaks to reporters after witnessing a gunman open fire on gamers participating in a video game tournament outside The Jacksonville Landing in Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 26, 2018. (Joey Roulette/Reuters)

“After he told us he was in the ambulance, and he was on his way to the hospital, we all kind of thanked God and just gave a good relief and my parents headed up there to the hospital.”

Dalton Kent came home from the hospital Sunday night. He said he expected to recover quickly. The bullet missed the bones of his shin. Other than some possible minor nerve damage, he expects to heal completely.

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