'Voice' Singer Christina Grimmie Fatally Shot After Concert | NBC 6 South Florida

'Voice' Singer Christina Grimmie Fatally Shot After Concert

The singer was signing autographs following a show when a man came up and shot her, police said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Christina Grimmie, a contestant on "The Voice" who was shot to death outside a concert in Orlando this weekend, grew up in Marlton, Burlington County. Friends and fellow parishioners at the church Grimmie's family attended when they lived in South Jersey are mourning her and fondly remembering the talented young woman. NBC10's Monique Braxton reports. (Published Sunday, June 12, 2016)

    Police have identified the man accused of shooting and killing Christina Grimmie, a former contestant on NBC's "The Voice."

    Orlando Police identified the suspect as 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl of St. Petersburg, Florida. Loibl is accused of shooting Grimmie after a show in Orlando, Florida Friday night. Grimmie's publicist later confirmed she died from her injuries.

    "It is with a heavy heart that we can confirm that Christina has passed and went home to be with the Lord," her publicist Heather Weiss said in a statement. "She was shot at her show in Orlando and, unfortunately, didn't survive the gun shot wounds. We ask at this time that you respect the privacy of her family and friends in their time of mourning."

    Grimmie, 22, a South Jersey native, was signing autographs around 10:45 p.m. Friday along with members of another band, Before You Exit, when the shooting happened, according to Orlando Police. The singer and the band wrapped up a performance at The Plaza Live in Orlando. The concert ended around 10 p.m., and Grimmie was shot as she signed autographs for fans at a merchandise table in The Plaza Live concert venue.

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    Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a news conference that the suspect, identified as Loibl, didn't appear to know Grimmie personally.

    "She was doing a meet-and-greet, just signing autographs and selling merchandise. This white male approached her and opened fire, striking her," Mina said. "We believe he came here to commit this crime."

    Grimmie's brother, Marcus, immediately tackled the gunman, who then shot and killed himself during the struggle, police said. They credited the singer's brother with preventing the gunman from hurting others. Around 120 others were in The Plaza Live at the time.

    "Very heroic actions by Marcus Grimmie to jump in and it definitely could have prevented further loss of life," Mina said.

    After the concert, 17-year-old Kaitlin Martin was standing with a group of other fans outside The Plaza Live, waiting for members of Before You Exit to come out, when she heard several loud "pops."

    "We thought at first they were balloons ... but then security started running all over the place yelling at people to get out because someone has a gun and someone is shooting. Everyone is just running all over the place," said Martin, who traveled to see to the concert from Brunswick, Georgia. "It was chaos."

    Martin said she was unsettled knowing the suspect had watched the concert in the same audience she was in.

    "This person was in the crowd with us, and while we were singing, having a great time, he was there with different intentions," she said.

    Detectives were searching Loibl's cell phone and social media accounts looking for clues as to a motive, Mina said, but they weren't aware of any history of stalking of Grimmie by the suspect.

    At Loibl's home, in St. Petersburg, someone had left a note on the front door, expressing the "deepest sorrow'' for the loss "to the family, friends & fans of the very talented, loving Christina Grimmie.'' The note said there would be no other comment. No one answered the door to the one-story house that had a rusted, metal animal trap in the yard.

    Photo credit: News Channel 8 WFLA

    The suspect had on him two handguns, two loaded magazines and a hunting knife, Mina said.

    There were unarmed security guards at The Plaza Live and they checked bags and purses for contraband, but there were no metal detectors or pat-downs of people as they entered The Plaza Live, he said.

    A spokeswoman said all events at The Plaza Live had been suspended until further notice.

    Loibl had made travel arrangement to come to Orlando alone, as well as travel arrangements to go back home, but he didn't have a car, Mina said. The police chief wouldn't elaborate further.

    Grimmie — from Marlton, New Jersey — posted a video on Twitter earlier Friday asking fans to come out to her show.

    She finished third place in season 6 of "The Voice." She was a member of Maroon 5 front-man Adam Levine's team.

    Levine posted a photo of the two on his Instagram account.

    "I'm sad, shocked and confused. We love you so much Grimmie. We are all praying hard that you can pull through this...this just isn't fair," he said.

    "We are heartbroken," the show tweeted early Saturday. "@TheRealGrimmie is a loved member of our family.  Our thoughts are with her and her family." 

    Before You Exit, which performed at the Orlando concert, also tweeted in response to Grimmie's death: "Today we lost an angel, sister, and a beloved friend. #RipChristina."

    Grimmie attended Cherokee High School in Marlton. The Lenape Regional High School District released a statement on her death.

    "Christina Grimmie was a gifted student who touched the lives of her classmates as well as the staff of Cherokee High School," a spokesperson wrote. "They followed her career and were among her biggest fans. The entire Lenape Regional High School District family is shaken and saddened by Christina's tragic death. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Christina's brother Marcus and the entire Grimmie family at this extremely difficult time."

    Grimmie's voice was also played Saturday at the church she attended, Fellowship Alliance Chapel in Medford, New Jersey.

    Police originally stated the suspect was 21 years old. This story corrects suspect's age to 27.

    There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul with an amazing voice. Our hearts go out to the friends, fans and family of @TheRealGrimmie.We are heartbroken. @TheRealGrimmie is a loved member of our family.  Our thoughts are with her and her family.  There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul with an amazing voice. Our hearts go out to the friends, fans and family of @TheRealGrimmie.