Darrin Campbell, a wealthy Florida businessman renting a mansion from retired tennis star James Blake, shot and killed his wife and two teenaged children before setting off an explosion and shooting himself in a horrifying murder-suicide, cops said.
On May 7, the house was destroyed in a massive fire and Campbell, his wife, Kimberly, and their son, Colin, and daughter Megan, were all found dead in the home.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office said on May 9 that Campbell “systematically” shot and killed his wife and kids with gun shots to the head. He then set off an explosion with fireworks before shooting himself in the head. There was no suicide note found in the house.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cops Have Ruled it a Murder-Suicide
Officials confirmed May 9 what had been widely suspected days earlier: Campbell killed his family and orchestrated the fiery explosion, which was visible throughout the family’s posh, golf-club neighborhood and witnessed by a horrified neighbor who was out walking her dogs and called 911. (Listen to the audio above.)
Darrin Campbell’s mother, Mary, told The New YorkDaily News, the day after the fire: “I have no idea what happened. I spoke to him last night.”
The Campbell family had been renting the home in Tampa at 16223 Sierra de Availa from Blake for the past two years.
According to Campbell’s mother, her son knew Blake. The tennis star was in Connecticut at the time of the fire. According to ABC Tampa, Blake bought the home in 2005 for $1.5 million.
2. Campbell Was a Successful Businessman
He worked at Vastec, Inc, according to ABC Tampa. The company released a statement:
On behalf of all in our organization we are greatly saddened to learn the news regarding our Chief Operating Officer, Darrin Campbell, and the Campbell family. This is a difficult time for all involved and we are trying to cope with this news. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to friends and family members during this time of grief.
Vastec describes it self as digital records maintenance company.
On his LinkedIn page, Campbell says that he previously worked at Pods Inc and Ivans Inc. At Ivans, he was the VP of operations. The Tampa Tribune reports his father-in-law, Bruce, saying that Campbell had taken time off work this year but didn’t say why. This was later confirmed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office who said that Campbell had taken a leave of absence. He had know known mental problems or any criminal record.
3. Campbell Bought 12 Packages of Fireworks on May 4
The surveillance video above, posted on YouTube by ABC Action News, shows Campbell buying a considerable amount of fireworks on May 4 from Phantom Fireworks.
The Tampa Tribune reports that the purchase was confirmed by William Weimer, the president of the company.
Campbell bought six packages of firecrackers and six packages of aerial fireworks. The type of pyrotechnics were similar to Fourth of July fireworks, Weimer told the Tribune. Weimer added that while the fireworks could have started the blaze, it would have spread much slower unless something else was ignited.
TMZ reported at the time of the fire that one of the deceased had fireworks strapped to his or her head.
4. His Son Was a High School Baseball Star
His son, Colin, was a senior at Carrollwood Day School. There he was a baseball prodigy with an exceptional batting average, according to Max Preps.
— Scout Daily (@scoutadaily) May 7, 2014
His daughter Megan was also a student at Carrollwood Day. The school has crisis counsellors helping students in the wake of the tragedy. Darrin Campbell was active in the school where he served as a treasurer, according to TampaBay.com.
5. Campbell Had an MBA From Michigan
According to his LinkedIn page, Campbell has an MBA from the University of Michigan. He also has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Detroit Mercy.
It’s not clear how long the family lived in the Tampa Bay area. Kimberly Campbell has a brother in the area, according to TampaBay.com.