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June 22, 2016

Friend of Christina Grimmie's killer paints portrait of man obsessed

Co-worker tells police man who shot down New Jersey singer had unhealthy "infatuation"

A friend of the man accused of killing New Jersey singer and former "The Voice" contestant Christina Grimmie painted a dark portrait of a man obsessed in his interview with police, which was released Wednesday.

Kevin Loibl, who Orlando Police say gunned down Grimmie while she signed autographs after a June concert, had an "infatuation" with the 22-year-old Marlton native that was "not normal or healthy," Cory Dennington told detectives.

Police had previously said that Loibl, 27, of St. Petersburg, traveled to Orlando specifically to attack Grimmie before fatally shooting himself.

Dennington described himself as Loibl's only friend to police, and detailed Loibl's obsession with Grimmie to authorities during their investigation.

Dennington and Loibl worked together at a Best Buy store in St. Petersburg and had known each other for 15 years, Dennington told police.

Loibl's interest in Grimmie had grown over the course of about six months to a year, according to Dennington, and “He (Loibl) made it clear he watched everything having to do with her,” he told police.

Dennington said Loibl spent most waking hours watching Grimmie's popular YouTube page and monitoring her social media accounts.

As Loibl's obsession grew, his grasp of reality began to slip, Dennington told detectives. An excerpt from the police report released Wednesday details how Loibl began his preparation to eventually have a relationship with Grimmie:

Dennington recalled a disturbing conversation with Loibl, who claimed to be an atheist, saying Christina’s belief in Christianity had “changed him” and “helped him to see the world in a different way” and “if there is a God he has seen it in her.” Loibl told him the weight loss, Lasik surgery, teeth whitening and hair implants were all part of a plan to improve his appearance for her. Dennington was unaware of any attempts by Loibl to directly contact Christina and, as far as he knew, Loibl had never attended one of her concerts. Loibl did not tell Dennington about going to see Christina’s concert in Orlando and he was unaware she was performing.

In Dennington's final conversation with Loibl, Dennington noticed a lot of "weird" and "sad" things in hindsight. Loibl returned several magazines to his friend he had borrowed from months ago, and told him he was "ready to ascend," Dennington recalled. He also said Loibl never explicitly said he planned on harming himself.

It eventually got to the point that Dennington felt the need to bring the issue to the attention of his supervisor at Best Buy, Luke Dahl.

Dahl told detectives that while he did remember having a conversation with Dennington about Loibl's infatuation with Grimmie in January or February of 2016, he never spoke to Loibl about it directly.

He described Loibl as "socially awkward" and noted he saw Loibl watching Grimmie's YouTube videos at his desk before.

Thousands attended a memorial service for Grimmie last week, a day after she was buried during a private ceremony.

A number of celebrities mourned her loss, including judges from "The Voice," the show that Grimmie finished in third place on in 2014.

Adam Levine offered to pay for Grimmie's funeral services, while Gwen Stefani expressed deep sadness.

"Everybody, you know, is shaken," Stefani said shortly after Grimmie's death. "It's just a shock and makes me feel totally vulnerable."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.