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Christina Grimmie vigil draws fans, brother pauses for Orlando shooting victims


UPI News Service, 06/14/2016 

Christina Grimmie was remembered by friends and family Monday, as her brother also gave pause during a vigil to remember the many victims of Orlando's terrorist attack Sunday.

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Evesham, N.J. Mayor Randy Brown and several of her close friends spoke out about the former "The Voice" contestant's love of life, her strong Christian faith and how her life was tragically cut short.

Grimmie was fatally shot Friday night while signing autography after her Plaza Live concert in Orlando.

The Orlando Police Department confirmed that 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl was the sole assailant, who subsequently shot and killed himself after her brother Marcus Grimmie tackled him to the ground.

Marcus Grimmie became emotional while speaking to the crowd about his "baby sister" and the mass shooting in Orlando which occurred early Sunday in a gay nightclub, leaving 49 victims dead and 53 others wounded.

"She loved this town, she loved this state, she loved singing, she loved the Lord and she loved me and she was my baby sister," he told the vigil crowd, E! reported.

Marcus Grimmie said "The Voice" coach Adam Levine paid for Christina's funeral. Levine spoke previously about how devastated he is over this tragedy.

"Selena [Gomez] is singing a song and crying [during her concert]. These people (at the Orlando nightclub) didn't have that and we are blessed," Marcus Grimmie said. "She's in a better place....Thank you to everyone once again. I wish I could elaborate more. You guys didn't know her like I did, so thank you. This is awesome."

The mayor also spoke. "Your heart can be empty because you can't see her or you can be full because of the love you shared. You can remember only that she's gone or you can cherish her memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what she would want, smile and open your eyes, smile, love and go on."

Evesham township officials coordinated the vigil in Memorial Park for Grimmie, who first became a YouTube teen sensation by singing and playing keyboard versions of other artists' songs, the Courier-Post reported. She later boosted her popularity after placing third in The Voice competition in 2014.

The 500 or so people in attendance became hushed even before the vigil ceremony started. Mourners began arriving more than an hour before the vigil.

One of them was Grimmie's adopted aunt Hope Compton of Somerdale. She said she flew to California to be with Grimmie's mother Tina, then flew back to New Jersey with her Monday afternoon.

"It doesn't seem real," Compton said, breaking down as she talked about getting the phone call that the singer had been shot. "But we'll see her again in heaven."



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