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Police: Ex-Michigander Shot Family, Set Fire to Florida Mansion, then Killed Himself

A family with deep Michigan ties appeared to have a storybook life in one of Tampa’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Their bodies were discovered in the charred remains of a sprawling mansion owned by tennis star James Blake.

A former Michigan man allegedly shot his wife and teenaged children before setting fire to their rented Florida mansion and killing himself. (Screenshot: WDIV, Channel 4 Video)
A former Michigan man allegedly shot his wife and teenaged children before setting fire to their rented Florida mansion and killing himself. (Screenshot: WDIV, Channel 4 Video)

The case of a seemingly successful corporate executive who authorities say shot his wife and children before scattering gasoline and an “exceedingly large” cache of fireworks around the family’s rented Florida mansion before setting it on fire has stunned relatives and friends 1,500 miles away in Michigan.

Florida authorities said at a news conference Friday that Darrin Campbell shot his wife, Kimberly, and children Colin, 19, and Megan, 16, in the head with a .40-caliber handgun, and then shot himself in the head on Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Their bodies were found in the charred remains of a $1.5 million mansion owned by tennis star James Blake in a tony gated community on one of Tampa’s most exclusive streets.

Hillsborough, FL, County Sheriff’s Col. Donna Lusczynski said Friday that police aren’t looking for any additional suspects in what she characterized as a “disturbing” case. 

Authorities are puzzled about what caused Darrin Campbell to kill his family, and are poring over financial and other records in a search for answers. He had a clean criminal record, Lusczynski said, and it didn’t appear any other agencies were investigating him.

So far, the investigation has revealed that Darrin Campbell had purchased fireworks, gas cans and gasoline in the days before the spectacular fire at the 6,000-square-foot home. Authorities didn’t say the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide, but conceded that was a possibility.

Ties to Canton Area

From the outside, the couple with deep Michigan ties appeared to have a perfect, storybook life.

Kimberly Campbell, 51, grew up in the Canton area, where her father Gordon Lambie still lives, and graduated from Annapolis High School in Dearborn Heights, WDIV, Channel 4, reports. Darrin Campbell, 49, was born in Milford, The Detroit News said.

They met in Lansing, while both were working as aides in the state Legislature. Both had attended college in Michigan – Darrin earned his an undergraduate degree from University of Detroit Mercy MBA at the University of Michigan and Kimberly Campbell had graduated from Central Michigan University.

They left the state 1995 when Darrin, formerly a financial analyst for Ford Motor Co., got a job as CFO of Pearl Brewing Co. in San Antonio. Darrin worked as an executive at several high-profile companies, according to media reports, but most recently worked at a records management firm and volunteered at his children’s private school.

‘Vivacious’ and ‘Energetic’

Kimberly’s father, Gordon Lambie, called her a “vivacious young woman” with an “an energetic and alive” personality and scores of friends. She was a stay-at-home mom.

Lambie told WDIV that he learned of the fire from his son, who lives also lives in the Tampa area. Him son reportedly said, “All Kim’s family is gone,” and Lambie immediately thought there had been an automobile accident.

“I’ve lost my entire family,” Lambie said.

One of the neighbors interviewed in USA Today videos posted on the Detroit Free Press web site before the victims were identified choked back tears as he called the family “the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”

A talented baseball player, Colin Campbell was looking forward to playing collegiate baseball after his graduation next month from the exclusive Carrollwood Day School. Megan was a ninth-grade honor roll student who took dance lessons.

Their friends began posting messages grieving for the two teenagers on social media, using hashtags such as #RIP and #prayforthecampbells.

Joseph Borrajo May 09, 2014 at 07:46 PM
Sad story of a sick mind that destroyed three people. P3
Tom B May 11, 2014 at 08:05 AM
Very sad. Mr. Lambie, Mrs. Campbell's father, was an assistant superintendent for Taylor Schools. He was also a trustee for Central Michigan University. He was well known in the Downriver/Dearborn area.

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