The annual PAX West convention at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center comes less than a week after a gunman killed two and wounded 11 Sunday at a gaming competition in Florida.
Seattle police plan to have undercover officers at this weekend’s PAX West gaming convention after a gunman killed two and wounded 11 last Sunday at a video game tournament in Florida.
In a statement, PAX West officials did not indicate whether they would have increased security at the event that runs from Friday through Monday, but Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said officers would at the event, both in uniform and undercover.
“Just because you don’t see an officer doesn’t mean an officer isn’t present,” Whitcomb said. “This is designed to ensure that everyone who attends these events can have a good time and feel safe doing so.”
Thousands of people will swarm the Washington State Convention and Trade Center to attend the annual PAX West convention. Officials at the four-day event do not keep track of attendance, but as of Thursday only some tickets for Monday were remaining. In 2011, more than 70,000 people attended.
“First and foremost, our hearts go out to all of those impacted by the horrific, senseless act of violence,” according to a statement from the PAX team. “The entire gaming community is affected by this tragedy.”
“As a rule, we do not publicly announce or discuss the details of our security program in order to maintain its effectiveness, however, we work closely with the Washington State Convention Center, private security, the Seattle Police Department and federal law enforcement authorities,” the statement says.
The PAX website provides a detailed outline of the organizers’ safety precautions and security guidelines, such as a “peace bonding” practice. A costume weapon is “peace bonded” when it’s been labeled with a tag to allow security personnel to identify if an accessory has been checked to be safe.
On Sunday, a man identified as David Katz fatally shot two people before killing himself during the “Madden NFL 19” video game tournament at a Jacksonville, Florida shopping mall. Killed were Elijah Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, California, and Taylor Robertson, 28, of Giles, West Virginia.
After the shooting, some in the gaming community took to Twitter to voice their concerns about security, wondering whether PAX West organizers were ramping up security at the Seattle year’s event.
Information from The New York Times and The Washington Post is included in this story.