Sunday, 12 June 2016

Christina Grimmie's killer targeted her at Orlando concert

The gunman who shot and killed singer Christina Grimmie at a Florida concert venue while she signed autographs deliberately targeted the former The Voice contestant, police said Saturday.

Orlando Police said Kevin James Loibl, 27, killed himself after shooting Grimmie Friday night, and had travelled to the event from his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, with "arrangements" to go back afterwards.

"It does appear that he came here to commit this crime," Police Chief John Mina told reporters at a news conference, adding that officials are still trying to find a motive and will search his electronic devices for clues.

"We're hoping that once we are able to get into the phone and into the computer, that it will shed some light on why he did this."

The 22-year-old singer had performed with the band Before You Exit at The Plaza Live in Orlando.

Video posted on Twitter by one fan appears to show Grimmie, a New Jersey native, performing on stage before she was killed.

The musician finished third during season six of NBC's The Voice in 2014, competing on the team of Maroon 5 star Adam Levine. As a teenager, she began developing a following on YouTube, gaining online viewers with her powerful renditions of hit songs. Her YouTube videos, which include covers of challenging tunes like Adele'sHello and Skyscraper by Demi Lovato, have garnered millions of views.

Grimmie had posted a video of herself shortly before the concert was scheduled to begin, encouraging fans to come see her perform.

After the show, which ended Friday around 10 p.m. ET, Grimmie was at a meet-and-greet in the back of the hall, near an exit. Police say it appears that Loibl, armed with two handguns, two additional loaded magazines, and a large hunting knife, approached and shot her while she signed autographs for fans at a merchandise table.

Grimmie's brother, Marcus, almost immediately tackled him to the ground before the gunman shot and killed himself, according to police.

There were about 120 people nearby at the time of the shooting. No one else was hurt.

Mina said there are no metal detectors at the site and that "people are not patted down." Instead, concert-goers "open their bags and the security people look inside those bags for weapons." There were no extra-duty police officers there.

Grimmie was briefly listed in critical condition before succumbing to her injuries.

Levine posted a photo of himself with Grimmie on Twitter and wrote a comment on behalf of his wife, model Behati Prinsloo, and himself.

"Behati and I are absolutely devastated and heartbroken by Christina Grimmie's death. Our hearts go out to her family."

RIPChristina became a top trending hashtag as Grimmie's fans took to social media to express an outpouring of grief.

The Voice paid tribute to Grimmie on its official Twitter page: "There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul with an amazing voice."

"She was special. She walked in the room and she had an infectious laugh, she was determined, she was confident, but she was so incredibly sweet," Carson Daly, who hosted The Voice, said on NBC's Today show Saturday. "You would never forget meeting her."

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