Dad Who 'Killed Family' Had All-American Life

Darrin Campbell is caught buying fireworks on store camera

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2014 3:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Surveillance video shows Darrin Campbell—the Florida dad accused of killing his family and himself and setting their house on fire—buying fireworks in a store three days before the tragedy, ABC Action News reports. Campbell was "calm ... like any other customer," said a salesperson who cashed out the $600 purchase. Campbell said he was doing "early Fourth of July shopping" and wanted to use a half-off coupon, the salesperson said. "This is nothing to be alarmed about as far as a customer making a purchase." (The Tampa Bay Times has the video.) In other developments:

  • Adding to the mystery, the Campbells were an "all-American" family that routinely won their Tampa subdivision's "Best Decorated Holiday Home'' contest—and when neighbors donated to defray the electric-bill cost, the Campbells gave the money to Metropolitan Ministries, the Tampa Tribune reports.
  • Friends say the real tragedy is the unrealized potential of the children, Colin and Megan. Colin, 18, was a renowned high school baseball player said to have college-ball potential, and 15-year-old Megan was a dancer and honor student.
  • Darrin helped Colin on his baseball swing "forever," says a Little League coach. "I mean forever." But friends say Campbell wasn't overbearing, even as a coach on some of Colin's teams.
  • The fireworks Campbell bought couldn't have set a massive fire, says a pyrotechnics expert, but according to the sheriff's office he used gasoline as an accelerant, the Guardian reports.
  • A senior executive at Vastec Inc, a Tampa-based digital records company, Campbell had just taken time off work for reasons unknown.
  • "They were good people," says another of Colin's coaches. "It just gives you a pit in your stomach that you can't get rid of. It's so sad and so tragic.''
Click to read yesterday's developments, and the original story.

This aerial photo shows the burned out home on Thursday, May 8, 2014 in Tampa, Fla.   (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Eve Edelheit)
In this photo provided by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, flames destroy a mansion owned by former tennis star James Blake, Wednesday May 7, 2014, in a gated community in Tampa, Fla. A sheriff's...   (AP Photo/Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)
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Surveillance video said to show Darrin Campbell buying fireworks in Tampa, Fla.   (Tampa Bay Times)

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