When former Voice contestant Christina Grimmie took the stage in Orlando, Florida on June 10, 2016, she had no idea that the performance would be her last. Christina finished up her show and invited fans to join her for a meet and greet afterwards. She had been speaking with fans, laughing and signing autographs when suddenly a man emerged from the crowd.
27-year-old Kevin Loibl of St. Petersburg, Florida had traveled to the concert specifically to kill Christina. Little else is known on the man’s motives when he walked up to the up and coming starlet and shot her. Loibl was tackled by Grimmie’s brother and Loibl shot himself.
The only evidence police have released that could give some insight on the murder was a note left on Loibl’s door stating, “Deepest sorrow for lost [sic] to the family, friends and fans of the very talented, loving Christina Grimmie. No other comments.”
Christina was rushed to a local hospital where she died on account of her injuries.
As Orlando residents struggled to make sense of the young singer’s tragic murder more chaos was to follow.
The following night nearly 320 people were packed into the Pulse nightclub for their “Latin Night” event. Several performers were billed to host the the night’s festivities and the lively crowd kept the party going into the wee hours of the morning on June 12.
At 2:03 A.M. Pulse left a chilling message on their Facebook page. “Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.” A lone gunman had stormed the club and opened fire. Some were able to flee, while others weren’t as lucky.
At approximately 2:22 A.M. reports of a 9-1-1 call made by the gunman stated that he had pledged his allegiance to ISIS and had mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers. Police and ambulances were quick to arrive on the scene after receiving calls about the shooting, but officials said it took them nearly three hours to assemble the manpower necessary to diffuse the situation.
It wouldn’t be until nearly 5 A.M. that SWAT teams surrounded the club and busted through the front door. Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida was killed by SWAT officials. Police posted on Twitter that they had used a “controlled explosion” to assist them in entering the club and 30 hostages still trapped inside were finally able to escape the carnage.
The death toll is now at 50, with 53 more injured. The media is reporting that this has been the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, as well as the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history.
Our hearts go out to all of the lives lost in Orlando, Florida over the weekend as well as their surviving family.