The 27-year-old Florida man who murdered singer Christina Grimmie earlier this year watched from the back of the venue as she performed, waiting for the moment to shoot her at point-blank range as she greeted fans, a photo released by police shows.
Kevin James Loibl can be seen standing in the back of The Plaza Live, where Grimmie performed what was to be her last concert before returning home to Los Angeles for a break, according to a photograph of the June 10 event released by the Orlando Police Department to InsideEdition.com.
Wearing a plaid shirt, black jeans a black baseball cap he had just purchased at a nearby Old Navy, Loibl watched as Grimmie’s fans cheered and sang along to her covers and original hits.
After the show was over, Loibl waited while Grimmie greeted her fans, taking the time to pose for pictures, sign autographs and talk with mostly young teen girls, many of whom fell in love with the 22-year-old singer during the sixth season of NBC’s “The Voice.”
Though he was a far cry from the demographic of her usual fans, Grimmie opened her arms to Loibl as he approached, as was her way to break the ice with shy fans, her brother told The Orlando Sentinel, which first published the photograph.
“Christina never judged anyone, so it didn’t matter what someone looked like or if they acted weirdly, she just had this way with people,” Mark Grimmie, 23, told the Sentinel. “Everyone loved her and we literally never had a problem with any fan. Nothing.”
Instead of accepting Grimmie’s offer for a hug, Loibl used a black 9 mm he purchased in the weeks before the concert to fire five shots at the young woman, hitting her three times before her brother tackled him to the ground.
“I wasn’t afraid. There wasn’t any time for fear; it was my first instinct to tackle him, so that’s what I did,” he told the Sentinel. “I looked, and she [Christina] was on the floor and I just remember screaming bloody murder and jumping on him, then hitting him.”
Loibl managed to break out of Mark Grimmie’s grasp, raising a second handgun that he had also bought and shot himself in the left side of his head, killing himself and leaving Grimmie’s loved ones to wonder why.
Loibl had been infatuated with Grimmie for at least six months, becoming obsessed with the singer in 2015 after coming across her videos on YouTube, one of Loibl’s only friends, Cory Dennington, told police.
“He told me that she changed him, like she helped him see the world in a different way and that... if there is a God, he sees it in her,” Dennington said, noting that he had never showed interest in any woman before Grimmie.
Dennington told police that Loibl began working on bettering himself for Grimmie, who he believed was his soulmate, undergoing LASIK eye surgery, teeth whitening, getting hair implants and losing 50 pounds.
“This was all part of a plan to, I guess, look appealing so he could become a professional streamer online with video games, and that would lead him to meet her. And that was his plan,” Dennington told cops.
Like Grimmie, Loibl was an avid gamer, but he used that world as an escape, retreating to his consoles and computer when life at home with his allegedly abusive mother — and after her accidental and fatal overdose in 2010, his supposedly dysfunctional father and his girlfriend — became too much to handle.
“He used to tell me that when he was younger, his mom... broke his brother’s arm... threw dishes at them... he used to say, ‘my mom tried panning me’ — meaning a frying pan — and beat him with it,” Dennington told police, noting that at one time Loibl said he felt closer to him than to his own family.
So when Dennington told his friend that he thought his chances with the singer were slim, it came as a shock when Loibl threatened to end their friendship.
Loibl told him, “if you’re not going to be supportive of me, then I just can’t be your friend,” Dennington told police.
Dennington eventually realized Loibl’s obsession with Grimmie was unhealthy and brought his concerns to their boss at Best Buy in April 2016, but was told that since he was behaving at work, nothing could be done.
But never once did Dennington believe Loibl would become violent, telling police that when he heard the news that Grimmie had been murdered: “I got all shaky and anxious, and the irony is, I actually thought, ‘oh no how is he gonna react when he gets here?’”
Not long after his sister’s murder, Mark Grimmie told police that Loibl had said nothing before opening fire.
“He didn’t say a word... it just happened,” he said, noting he believed his sister had never seen the man before.
“Did you happen to find a note or anything on him?” Mark Grimmie asked police, at which point the interview’s recording was shut off.
More than six months since the tragedy, many are left with questions and Loibl’s computer hard drive, which had been removed from his home computer, remains missing.
On Thursday, Grimmie’s family released a teaser for a song that Grimmie recorded before her death, entitled “Invisible.”
“Thank you for all of your support over the years, and patience in the last 6 months. We love you so much,” the Grimmie family wrote.
The song will be released February 14, about a month shy of what would be her 23rd birthday.
“Stay tuned for more info,” they wrote, “and thank you for continuing to support Christina's legacy.”