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Site Of Jacksonville Landing Mass Shooting Demolished

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Bill Bortzfield
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WJCT News
Crews spray debris Thursday morning at the former site of The Jacksonville Landing's Chicago Pizza.

Chicago Pizza, site of the August 26, 2018, deadly mass shooting at The Jacksonville Landing, has been leveled as the overall demolition of the former Downtown festival marketplace continues.

David Katz, a 24-year-old professional gamer from Baltimore, left the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar inside Chicago Pizza after losing in a preliminary round of a national video game tournament.

He returned, armed with two handguns, and began shooting, killing two people, wounding 10 others and then turning a gun on himself. The restaurant eventually reopened – but briefly – as a flurry of lawsuits hit.

Related: Archived coverage of the shooting and its aftermath

The shooting may have hastened the Landing’s demise. The food court closed just two months later in October of 2018. Long time tenant Benny’s Steak and Seafood would close in January along with Cinco De Mayo as the Landing’s long decline accelerated.

rubble and machinery
Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
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WJCT News
The area of the Landing that formerly housed Chicago Pizza and Cinco de Mayo is in the process of being demolished on Thursday, Nov. 21.

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Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
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WJCT News
Cinco de Mayo is pictured shortly after closing in January.

The city and former the former owners of the Landing were also suing each other.

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Credit Mayor Lenny Curry's Twitter page
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Former Jacksonville Landing owner Toney Sleiman and Mayor Lenny Curry flash a thumbs up in February after reaching a deal that would result in the Downtown landmark's demolition.

By February, owner Toney Sleiman reached a deal with Mayor Lenny Curry to sell the Landing back to the city.

Jacksonville City Council members voted 15-1 in March to approve a measure that included a $15 million buyout of Jacksonville Landing Investments LLC’s long-term lease, an additional $1.5 million to help relocate tenants and $1.5 million to demolish the 32-year-old shopping center.

The demolition is scheduled to be completed by May 28, 2020.

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Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
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WJCT News
Chicago Pizza is ultimately forced out of business following a deadly mass shooting at the establishment.

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Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
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WJCT News
Demolition work at The Jacksonville Landing's courtyard continued Thursday morning.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.