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Crime & Courts

James Blake mansion fire: 4 victims were shot


This aerial photo shows the burned out home on Thursday, May 8, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Authorities have said they think the fire at the five-bedroom home was intentionally set and that they found fireworks inside the home. Police have not said how the blaze started or who might be responsible. The home, which is owned by former tennis star James Blake, was engulfed in flames when firefighters responded Wednesday morning. Neighbors told police they heard explosions coming from it. Blake was renting the house to the a family and was not there at the time. (AP/The Tampa Bay Times, Eve Edelheit)

The flames that brought down a 6,000-foot-square mansion have been extinguished, the four bodies charred by the blaze removed.

With the results of autopsies pending and authorities indicating the possibility of a murder-suicide, investigators are now trying to piece together the story of the family that lived inside -- and what may have led to the deaths.

All four of the people had been shot, authorities said, and detectives recovered a gun registered to Darrin Campbell, a career executive who lived in the house with his wife and two teenage children.

Campbell bought $650 worth of fireworks and a bunch of gas cans just days before the house went up in flames, officials said.

Authorities still have not positively identified the bodies found inside as those of the Campbells, but police said they had been renting the property from a former tennis star, and the family has not been accounted for. A relative said they were inside the home at the time of the fire.

On Thursday, officials sifted and raked through the charred remains on the property.

"We plan to spend the next several days continuing to process the scene," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski. She said it was possible more information could be released Friday.

The million-dollar home now in ruins was owned by James Blake, a former professional tennis player, and it was located in Avila, a gated community known for its resident sports stars and CEOs. Located on one of Tampa's most exclusive streets, in one of its most secure, tony neighborhoods, the five-bedroom, five-bath home had a pool and spa, and was graced by tall palm trees.

Campbell had been an executive for several high-profile businesses. He was most recently 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 a home in another exclusive Tampa neighborhood for $750,000 in 2012 and moved closer to their children's school, Carrollwood Day School, Lambie said.

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 the 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."

On Thursday, teens openly grieved on social networks for Megan and Colin, using hashtags such as #RIP and #prayforthecampbells.

Officials said they weren't looking for any suspects in the case and that murder-suicide was a possibility, but have stopped short of officially declaring that.

Family and friends were in disbelief over the untimely deaths of such a seemingly successful family.

Darrin and Kimberly met in Lansing, Michigan, when they both worked as aides in the state legislature, her father 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 the Tampa area.

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

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