Maintenance. We are currently updating the site. Please check back shortly

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

Fire victims at tennis star's Florida home were shot - police

Source: Reuters - Thu, 8 May 2014 23:44 GMT
Author: Reuters
hum-nat hum-war
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

(Adds victims were found with gunshot wounds, background)

MIAMI, May 8 (Reuters) - A family of four suffered gunshot wounds before they died in a blaze that destroyed a Florida mansion owned by former professional tennis player James Blake, police said on Thursday.

Detectives were still working to identify the people and determine the cause of Wednesday's fire, said Debbie Carter, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities have not ruled out the possibility the fire may have been a murder-suicide and investigators said they found fireworks throughout the house.

The father of the family who rented the home purchased a large amount of fireworks and several gasoline cans at a home improvement store days before the fire, Carter said.

The police have said they are not pursuing any suspects in the blaze and have yet to identity the four people who died.

Blake was renting the more-than-6,000 square foot Tampa home and was not in the property when the fire broke out.

In a statement on Thursday, Tampa technology company VASTEC identified the victims as Darrin Campbell, the firm's chief operating officer, and his family, TV station WFTS reported. A VASTEC official could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said two male and two female bodies were found inside the house. Two of the bodies showed signs of upper body trauma, but officials did not immediately provide additional details.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Campbell purchased some $600 worth of fireworks on Sunday.

William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks, told the Times that surveillance footage showed Campbell bought six packages of small firecrackers and seven packs of aerial fireworks designed to shoot into the sky.

"There was nothing about the transaction itself or the products he purchased that would be out of the ordinary," Weimer said. "You'd probably purchase more to shoot off on the Fourth of July."

Authorities received a call to 911 reporting an explosion and fire at the home at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.

"I was walking my dog and the house just exploded," the caller said. "The house is engulfed in flames." Police released a recording of the call.

Blake, 34, retired from professional tennis in 2013. He bought the five-bedroom, five-bathroom house for $1.5 million in 2005, according to Hillsborough County property records. (Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Grant McCool and Richard Chang)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus
Most Popular
TOPICAL CONTENT
Topical content
LATEST SLIDESHOW

Latest slideshow

See allSee all
FEATURED JOBS
Featured jobs