SHOOTING OF SINGER CHRISTINA GRIMMIE

Gunman may be deranged fan

MIAMI • The gunman who killed singer Christina Grimmie (above), a former contestant on television show The Voice, travelled to Orlando, Florida, apparently intending to attack her, police said last Saturday.

Armed with two handguns, ammunition and a hunting knife, Kevin James Loibl shot and fatally wounded the 22-year-old at the city's Plaza Live Theater last Friday during a meet-and-greet session with fans, where Grimmie had just performed with the group Before You Exit. She was rushed to a hospital, but died of her wounds.

"The suspect travelled to Orlando, apparently, to commit this crime and then had plans to travel back to where he came from," police chief John Mina told reporters.

 

Loibl, 27, from St Petersburg, Florida, died at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was tackled by Grimmie's brother Marcus. He did not appear to have a criminal record and there was no indication that he and Grimmie knew each other. Mr Mina said it appeared he may have been a deranged fan.

 

Detectives are scrutinising Loibl's cell phone and computer as they search for a motive. Unarmed security guards at the concert conducted bag checks, police said, but failed to discover the shooter's weapons.

"There are no metal detectors. People are not patted down. They open their bags and authorities look inside those bags for weapons," Mr Mina said. Most people at the event were "young kids", which "isn't a crowd that you would suspect would be carrying guns", he added.

The attack drew responses from anti-gun activists. "While the details of this shooting are still being investigated, one thing we already know is that there is so much more Florida policy-makers can do to prevent gun violence and keep guns out of dangerous hands," said Mr Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Grimmie placed third on The Voice in 2014.

"There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul w/ an amazing voice," said a Twitter post from the NBC show.

Pop star Selena Gomez tweeted of her friend and occasional back-up singer: "My heart is absolutely broken. I miss you Christina."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2016, with the headline 'Gunman may be deranged fan'. Print Edition | Subscribe