Police search for motive in Christian pop star’s shooting
Shooting | Fan targeted Christina Grimmie outside an Orlando concert venue
by Ciera Horton
Posted 6/13/16, 01:21 pm
Police in Orlando are still searching for a motive in the shooting of 22-year-old pop star Christina Grimmie, who died Friday after a fan attacked her. Grimmie’s death came only two days before the unrelated shooting rampage at a gay club in Orlando, which authorities deemed the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Kevin Loibl, the gunman who attacked Grimmie, traveled more than 100 miles from St. Petersburg to Orlando, where he opened fire at the meet-and-greet after Grimmie’s concert at the Plaza Live Theater. Loibl carried two handguns, two loaded magazines, and a hunting knife. After Grimmie’s brother Marcus tackled him, Loibl shot himself. It’s not clear how Loibl managed to bring the weapons into the venue.
Police consider Marcus a hero for stopping Loibl from killing others in the crowd.
Grimmie died at an Orlando hospital several hours after the shooting.
“There is no indication that [Loibl] knew her,” said Orlando Police Chief John Mina. “We’re looking into that to try to find a motive for the crime.”
Compilations of Loibl’s emails and internet posts concerning Grimmie reportedly indicate he might have targeted her for her Christian faith, according to The Santa Monica Observer. But investigators have not confirmed those claims.
With her soulful voice and iconic piano playing, Grimmie rose to internet stardom as a YouTube vlogger. She became a national sensation on season six of NBC’s talent show The Voice.
As a child, Grimmie listened to Christian contemporary music and named Stacie Orrico as a musical inspiration.
Fans adored Grimmie’s cover of “In Christ Alone” and she called herself a “full-on Christian who loves Jesus.” In 2011, Entertainment Weekly named Grimmie “the veritable queen of YouTube musicians.”
T.J. Wilkins, another competitor on The Voice, recalled her vibrant faith.
“What I’ll remember most about you is our conversation about faith and the love of Christ,” he said.
“#RIPChristina my thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones…” tweeted Demi Lovato. Other stars including Selena Gomez, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton shared similar posts.
Grimmie’s mother has battled breast cancer for years, and her continued struggle inspired the young singer.
“I’ve seen her be strong and it pushes me to be strong as well,” Grimmie said. “She is OK right now but you never know what could happen even overnight, so I thank the Lord for every day.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ciera Horton is a WORLD intern.