Christina Grimmie, an alum of The Voice and rising pop star who was fatally shot in Orlando on Friday night, was not acquainted with her killer, police said. The 21-year-old man had never attempted to get in touch with her via social media, but he arrived at her concert Friday night with two handguns, two loaded magazines, and a large hunting knife.
Grimmie’s murderer was apparently some kind of deranged fan because he traveled from another city in Florida with the intent to kill her. He had plans to return home, according to a report in TMZ, and thought he would get away with the crime.
Christina was gunned down after the concert during a meet-and-greet with around 120 people.
Grimmie and the band Before You Exit were selling merchandise after their show ended at 10 p.m. at Orlando’s Plaza Live Theater. Christina was signing autographs when a man carrying two guns walked up to her, took aim, and fired, Orlando Police Department public information officer Wanda Miglio told ABC News.
Miglio said it was unclear how the suspect entered the venue with the firearms. She said police responded to a call received at 10:24 p.m. that shots had been fired at Plaza Live Theater.
Grimmie was struck three times. Her brother Mark tackled the shooter, who then committed suicide. Police say they believe the murderer was not accidentally shot during the struggle with Christina’s brother, Miglio said.
“(Mark) immediately tackled the suspect, stopping him from causing any more harm to Christina and her fans.
“During the struggle, the suspect shot himself. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene….Her brother is a hero for saving and stopping him from not hurting anyone else.”
Authorities are currently looking at the killer’s phone and other electronics to see if they can find a motive. His name will be released in a few hours after authorities have searched through his home and electronics.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the suspect had targeted Christina.
“He came here to commit this crime and had plans to travel back to where he came from.”
He added that there was no known motive for the killing, and the suspect had used some type of public transport.
“There is is no car that we are looking for. He did make travel arrangements to get back where he was going.”
Grimmie, a 22-year-old New Jersey native, appeared on The Voice in 2014, where she caused all four judges to turn around with her cover of the Miley Cyrus hit “Wrecking Ball.”
Christina finished The Voice in third place under Adam Levine’s guidance. Following her stint on the show, she was signed to Levine’s 222 Records label. She was, for a brief time, also signed to Island Records.
Grimmie released her second EP in February 2014. She had begun her musical career by posting videos on YouTube.
She had established a major presence on YouTube with 3.1 million followers, and videos with views exceeding 10 million, 2.8 million Facebook followers, and 653,000 followers on Twitter.
— and we run (@_totaleclipse) June 11, 2016
Levine reacted to news of Christina’s death on Instagram.
“I’m sad, shocked and confused. We love you so much Grimmie… this just isn’t fair.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Grimmie’s family with expenses.
Christina Grimmie’s killer has been identified as Kevin James Loibl, age 27, from St. Petersburg. Police said he drove two hours in order to carry out his plan.
27 year old Kevin James Loibl possessed 2 loaded handguns and a large hunting knife. Grimmie was shot 3 times. Info: https://t.co/2S5bnz4Cud
— Maroon 5 (@M5NewsRoom) June 11, 2016
A note was pinned to the door of Loibl’s home, which read, “Deepest sorrow for lost (sic) to the family, fans and friends of the very talented, loving Christina Grimmie. No other comments.”
Authorities have found no indication that Loibl and Christina knew each other personally, according to WFLA. The search for a motive continues as the investigation goes on.
[Photo by Katie Darby/Invision/File/AP Images]