ORLANDO, Jun 11 – Former “The Voice” contestant Christina Grimmie died after being shot following a concert in Orlando, Florida, on Friday night. The attacker shot the singer as she was signing autographs and then turned the gun on himself. Her publicist Heather Weiss in a statement early Saturday said it is with a heavy heart that they can confirm that Christina has passed and went home to be with the Lord.
“We ask at this time that you respect the privacy of her family and friends in their time of mourning.” A GoFundMe page had been set up to support the native of Marlton, New Jersey, Weiss said. The 22-year-old singer was signing autographs and meeting fans after opening for the band Before You Exit at The Plaza Live when the shooting occurred at around 10:45 p.m. ET, Orlando Police Department spokeswoman Wanda Miglio said at a news conference.
Grimmie’s brother Mark tackled the shooter, who was carrying two guns at the time. The suspect then fatally shot himself, Miglio said. There were around 60 people in the area at the time, but nobody else was hurt, she added. Police did not identify the shooter and said a motive is not yet known. Miglio called the shooting a “very tragic event” and called Grimmie’s brother a “hero.”
Josh Call, who was working at a vegan hot dog stand outside the venue, told the Orlando Sentinel he heard four or five shots. “It was quick like pow, pow, pow,” he told the paper. After a few minutes he said he inside and saw a man and a woman on the floor bleeding heavily. It was horrifying,” he told the Sentinel.
Grimmie came in third place on season 6 of “The Voice,” NBC’s singing competition, which aired in 2014. She was just 19 when she auditioned with Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” She chose Adam Levine as her coach. Before You Exit called the singer “such a loving, caring, beautiful person with the biggest heart,” in a statement posted to Twitter hours after her death was announced.
“She was an absolutely incredible musician and an even better friend,” it added. “We are so so saddened by her passing and are completely heartbroken.” Other fellow artists and fans also wrote tributes to Grimmie, who was discovered on YouTube where she had more than 3 million followers and posted songs as zeldaxlove64. #PrayforChristina was trending on Twitter in the early hours of Saturday.