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Detectives: 4 found dead in James Blake's Florida home were shot


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- A man, his wife and their two teenage children were shot before the million-dollar home they were renting burned down in what investigators called arson, a fire perhaps exacerbated by fireworks and gasoline, authorities said Thursday.

Autopsies were still being completed to determine how they died, but investigators have said they are looking into the possibility of a murder-suicide. Authorities recovered a gun at the home registered to Darrin Campbell and he bought an "exceedingly large amount" of fireworks and gas cans days before the fire, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski said.

Authorities still have not positively identified the bodies, but the family has not been accounted for and a relative said they were inside the home when it burned.

As flames shot through the roof Wednesday morning, neighbors reported explosions, presumably hearing fireworks go off inside. Authorities have not indicated who may have started the fire or why.

Campbell bought $650 of fireworks on Sunday and authorities said fireworks were found throughout the five-bedroom home. Still, it wasn't clear what role the fireworks might have played, though Lusczynski said they could've been used to ignite the fire or keep it going.

Campbell had been an executive for several high-profile businesses. He was currently working at a records management firm and volunteering as treasurer at his children's private school. His wife, Kimberly, was a stay-at-home mom, according to her father, Gordon Lambie.

The family moved to Tampa more than a decade ago. They sold their home in 2012 for $750,000 and signed a two-year lease for the 6,000 square-foot home owned by former tennis pro James Blake. He bought the home in the Avila community in 2005 for $1.5 million, according to property records.

Avila is known for its mansions, heavy security, country club and golf course. Many well-known athletes have called the community home over the years.

Lambie said the family wanted to move closer to the children's school, Carrollwood Day School.

Nineteen-year-old Colin Campbell was a talented baseball player who planned to graduate high school next month. His teenage sister, Megan, was a ninth-grader who made an honor roll and took dance lessons.

"I've lost my entire family," Lambie said from his Michigan home. "It's very tough right now because I'm 1,500 miles away."

Campbell bought six packages of firecrackers and about the same number of fireworks designed to shoot into the air, said William Weimer, vice president of Ohio-based Phantom fireworks. He described them as backyard fireworks someone might set off on the Fourth of July.

He said the fireworks could have started a fire but it would have spread slowly. The amount of powder inside each one was smaller than an aspirin, he said.

A store manager, Rocky DiRoma, said there was nothing unusual about the $650 purchase.

"He was just an average Joe," DiRoma said.

Neighbors described hearing the fireworks.

"Geez. What is that popping noise?" a man said on a 911 call.

Another 911 caller, a security manager for the gated community, told dispatchers the fire was in the garage.

Darrin and Kimberly met in Lansing, Michigan, when they both worked as aides in the state legislature, her father-in-law said. Kimberly Campbell had graduated from Central Michigan University and Darrin Campbell had an MBA from the University of Michigan.

They lived in San Antonio, where Campbell was an executive with Pearl Brewing Company, before moving to Tampa.

At some point, he became senior vice president at PODS, the mobile storage company, and left in 2007. He was currently chief operating officer at Vastec, where he worked for the past six months.

Friends of the teens gathered Wednesday and released balloons with messages on them as a remembrance.

A former neighbor, George Connley, said Kimberly Campbell was "sophisticated and classy."

"We know nothing of any problems," Connley said. "The kids were outstanding children. This is very difficult to put our arms around."


Schneider reported from Orlando.

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Tom May 09 2014 at 10:19 AM

This is terrible. I pray for their SOUL.

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nightshade7206 May 09 2014 at 7:44 AM

This is incredibly sad. A case against the father seems to be shaping up. My only response is this: We have got to fund Education and Mental health far better than we do prisons. It will save this nation 10 fold in the long run.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
essiepeaches May 09 2014 at 7:39 AM

There is organized crime in FL and it's really not that hard to get into trouble. What comes to mind, things I've seen in the past, when the whole family is killed, it could be gang related. There are a lot of gang activity in FL and the gang could have targeted them for something. While living in FL, a young family was killed and layed out on the highway. They were trying to move out of town but a gang caught them and killed them while they were trying to leave. That's why I think it may have been gang related.

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3 replies
usapaydirt May 09 2014 at 7:27 AM

Obsession over money by it's very nature is self destructive. Through my life from time to time, I have met people of wealth who actually believed in their mind the delusion, that they were superior to other people of lesser monetary means. These are the people that see no purpose in life without wealth, and that's understandable, their players , not survivors and it sucks to be their kid ...

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1 reply
jbraidedbeauty1 usapaydirt May 09 2014 at 9:44 AM

I totally agree,, some of those people have so much and others have so little so when they lose it or get caught in their illegal ways of getting their money, they would rather take out the whole damn family than to get caught and go to prison.. not a black family, not over no damn money,, they used to being poor ..so it aint no biggy! Some of those people lose their job and go home and kill the whole family, or go back and kill the boss and co=workers.. wtf? get use to being poor and struggling..it aint for black people.. we did it and survived 400 years of poverty,, lets see you do.. we didnt jump off no bridges, kill ourselves or the whole damn family!

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jwm347 May 09 2014 at 11:34 AM

Already we have more answers on this house fire after a week than the administrations answers to Benghazi.
I guess the Florida police have nothing to cover up

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1 reply
ricsongs jwm347 May 09 2014 at 12:23 PM

always a conservative wacko that has to interject political nonsense into a thread.....

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MACMANN May 09 2014 at 7:08 AM

If it was murder suicide, he could have set the fire in the garage and then lit the fireworks. Four gunshots would have blended right in with the noise of the fireworks.

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1 reply
jeanninebriere MACMANN May 09 2014 at 10:52 AM

Why burn someone else's beautiful home? He could have still killed all his family with fireworks going and then kill himself if that's what really happened! How sad.

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Joyce Edwards May 09 2014 at 7:03 AM

Almost the same thing happened when my brother-in-law lost his high paying job. Only he hung himself, less then a year later my sister killed herself. Their daughter was grown and no longer lived at home. They were obsessed with having money, and when he lost his job.....couldn't handle not having unlimited $$$$$!!!!

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clb45para May 09 2014 at 6:56 AM

Firearm registered to Darrin Campbell? We don't "register" firearms in Florida.

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2 replies
MACMANN clb45para May 09 2014 at 7:15 AM

They were from Michigan. He could have registered it there.

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candace9685 clb45para May 09 2014 at 7:51 AM

He could have purchased it in Texas before moving to Florida.

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1 reply
candace9685 candace9685 May 09 2014 at 7:52 AM

I apologize for confusion. Correction - he could have purchased it in Michigan before moving to Florida.

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SummerSun May 09 2014 at 6:31 AM

I wonder why they are showing pictures of the kids and dad but not the mom?Or at least I haven`t seen any of her

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1 reply
kmhjbh SummerSun May 09 2014 at 7:55 AM

There are no pictures of the family in this article. Only of the tennis player who owned the house.

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dal May 09 2014 at 5:23 AM

money can't but happiness

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1 reply
brian dal May 09 2014 at 6:22 AM

The only people who believe that are those that dont have it.

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2 replies
jijjhnsn brian May 09 2014 at 7:09 AM

And those that have it waste it, and do this?

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anandaone brian May 09 2014 at 7:34 AM

It's not to supposed to buy happiness. People who have no means seem to rejoice in the misery of others in cases like this because they maybe feel vindicated in not having succeeded financially. The truth is, the majority of "rich people" don't do this. In fact they are major contributors to the employment of millions of people and the sustenance of their families.

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