Autopsy report released on Avila resident Darrin Campbell and his family killed in a murder suicide

Single gunshots -- not flames -- killed family

TAMPA, Fla. - The description of the injuries an Avila family suffered early in the morning of May 7 are at once clinical and heartbreaking.

The reports on 18-year-old Colin Campbell, his 15-year-old sister, Megan, and their mother, Kimberly Campbell, are nearly identical. Cause of death: A single gunshot wound of the head. Manner of death: Homicide.

The man who unleashed this horror, 49-year-old Darrin Campbell, inflicted the same fate on himself. The difference in his manner of death: Suicide.
Former Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputy Rod Reder has investigated countless domestic attacks. He hoped Darrin Campbell's autopsy report with it's medical detail might offer a clue as to the motive.

"Sometimes somebody develops a brain tumor, maybe they've ingested some kind of drug, a hallucinogen. It's just not there," said Reder.

There is a mention of hypertensive heart disease and a blood alcohol level of .14 -- too drunk to drive under Florida law, but not a level that would incapacitate most people.

In fact, Campbell's incomprehensible act was carefully planned with purchases of gasoline and fireworks intended to destroy his 6,000-square-foot home with himself, his wife, son and daughter inside.

What puzzles Reder is the fact that the autopsy report and official accounts indicate a  powerful .40-caliber handgun with no silencer was used. Yet there's no evidence of any resistance being put up by the three victims who were apparently in their beds.

"You're going to hear a. 40-caliber going off. So I got to think he muffled it with something. Otherwise, how could the other two people after he shot whoever he shot first not hear it?" said Reder.

It's another question to add to the mystery of Darrin Campbell's motive. He was described as a caring, involved father. No scandal, financial or otherwise, has been uncovered, and there was no note left behind. The Hillsborough County sheriff's final report on this case is due out in about two weeks.

Print this article Back to Top