Orlando has really been reeling over the weekend from at least two high-profile instances of hate crime in their city. While moved from the immediate spotlight by the more violent and more deadly assault on The Pulse gay nightclub early Sunday this week, the fatal shooting of NBC’s The Voice contestant and singer-songwriter Christina Grimmie after a concert performance late June 10 last Friday remains fresh not just in the minds of local residents, but the entire music industry and, as it turns out, religious groups.
Grimmie’s murderer was identified by Florida authorities as one Kevin James Loibl, 27, a resident of St. Petersburg in the same state, according to CNN.com. Multiple eyewitness accounts declare that, immediately after Grimmie’s performance alongside the band Before You Exit at Orlando’s The Plaza Live, Loibl queued up with other fans while the singer was signing autographs. Just as he reached the front of the line and Grimmie moved to give him a hug, Loibl drew a pistol and shot her three times in front of shocked onlookers. He was then tackled by Grimmie’s older brother Marcus, and in the following scuffle Loibl shot himself dead.
Christina Grimmie was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she died early the following day on June 11. According to OrlandoSentinel.com, hers would be the 18 th homicide committed in Orlando and the 59 th in Florida’s Orange County. This of course would be prior to the June 12 mass shooting incident at The Pulse club. DailyMail.co.uk reports that Orlando police found a total of two handguns on Kevin Loibl’s person, along with additional magazines and a hunting knife.
Although the entirety of the killer’s motives for killing Grimmie have yet to be ascertained by police, an online article on the shooting by The Santa Monica Observer posits that, based on content of Loibl’s cell phone and online computer records, that he may have murdered the singer due to her outspoken professions of her Christian faith. Her personal website is very Christian in content, from her posts and musings as well as her uploaded covers of Christian songs. Loibl had left angry comments and rants against her online, in email and his Facebook page; the former have been deleted and the latter closed pending a criminal investigation against him.
Official records state that Loibl had no previous criminal record, gun permit or his own car, and that aside from his hateful remarks against Grimmie, he did not know her personally. Still, it has become increasingly clear that Loibl intentionally traveled from his St. Petersburg home east to Orlando for the express purpose of killing the singer. His multiple guns and knife hint at a plan to perform a mass shooting in addition to Grimmie’s murder – eerily similar to the later gay bar killings by Omar Mateem –but was foiled by Marcus Grimmie attacking him, compelling Loibl to commit suicide
A Youtube online sensation, Grimmie already had more than 3 million online fans when she entered and became a contestant on the 6th season of NBC talent show The Voice, thanks to a powerful rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” at the blind audition phase. She would ultimately finish the competition in 3rd place but went on to a successful professional career, with solo albums and
collaborations with Before You Exit and Selena Gomez.
Fans and fellow singers and musicians continuously offer their condolences for Christina Grimmie’s passing as reported by Etonline.com. At the latest, her The Voice mentor, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, has offered to fully cover the expenses of Grimmie’s funeral in their hometown of Marlton, New Jersey. Marcus Grimmie has already announced plans for a candlelight vigil to be held there.
Photo Credit to www.fuse.tv