Kansas City Chiefs player kills girlfriend, then self, police say

Belcher shot himself in front of team officials

Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 12:34 PM
Last updated 5:35 PM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend Saturday, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager, thanking them for all they’d done before turning the gun on himself.

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Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Jovan Belcher (center) fatally shot his girlfriend early Saturday, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager after first thanking them for everything they had done for him, police said.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Jovan Belcher (center) fatally shot his girlfriend early Saturday, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager after first thanking them for everything they had done for him, police said.

Authorities did not release a possible motive for the murder-suicide, though police said that Belcher and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, had been arguing recently. The two of them have a 3-month-old girl who was being cared for by family.

Belcher thanked general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel before shooting himself in the parking lot of the team’s practice facility, police spokesman Darin Snapp said. Police had locked it down by mid-morning and reporters were confined to the street just outside the gates.

The team said it would play its home game against the Carolina Panthers as scheduled today at noon local time “after discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains.”

A spokesman for the team told The Associated Press that Crennel plans to coach.

Belcher was a 25-year-old native of West Babylon, N.Y., on Long Island, who played college ball at Maine. He signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent, made the team and stayed with it for four years, moving into the starting lineup. He’d played in all 11 games this season.

Authorities reported receiving a call Saturday morning from a woman who said her daughter had been shot multiple times at a residence about five miles from the Arrowhead complex. The call came from Belcher’s mother, who referred to the victim as her daughter, leading to some initial confusion.

“She treated Kasandra like a daughter,” Snapp said. Belcher’s mother, who is from New York, had recently moved in with the couple.

Police then received a phone call from the Chiefs’ training facility.

“And there were Pioli and Crennel and another coach or employee was standing outside and appeared to be talking to him. It appeared they were talking to the suspect,” Snapp said. “The suspect began to walk in the opposite direction of the coaches and the officers and that’s when they heard the gunshot. It appears he took his own life.”

The coaches told police they never felt in any danger, Snapp said.

“They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they’d done for him,” he said. “They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything. That’s when he walked away and shot himself.”

At Belcher’s mother’s home on Long Island, relatives declined to talk to reporters. A purple SUV in the home’s driveway was flying a small Kansas City Chiefs flag.

Perkin’s Facebook page shows the couple smiling and holding the baby.

“His move to the NFL was in keeping with his dreams,” said Jack Cosgrove, who coached Belcher at the University of Maine. “This is an indescribably horrible tragedy.”

Belcher is the latest among several players and NFL retirees to die from self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the past couple of years. The death of the beloved star Junior Seau, who shot himself in the chest in at his California home last May, sent shockwaves around the league.

Seau’s family, like those of other suicide victims, has donated his brain tissue to determine if head injuries he sustained playing football might be linked to his death.

Belcher did not have an extensive injury history, though the linebacker showed up on the official injury report on Nov. 11, 2009, as being limited in practice with a head injury. Belcher played four days later against the Oakland Raiders.

Earlier this year, the NFL provided a grant to help establish an independently operated phone service that connects players, coaches, team officials and other staff with counselors trained to work through personal and emotional crises. The NFL Life Line is available 24 hours a day.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said that he spoke to Pioli after the shooting.

“I can tell you that you have absolutely no idea what it’s like to see someone kill themselves,” James said. “You can take your worst nightmare and put someone you know and love in that situation, and give them a gun and stand three feet away and watch them kill themselves. That’s what it’s like.

“It’s unfathomable,” James said. “It’s something you would love to wash away from your mind, but you can’t do it. There’s nothing like it. I don’t what else to tell you. Think about your worst nightmare and multiply it by five.”

The season has been a massive disappointment for the Chiefs, who were expected to contend for the AFC West title. They’re just 1-10 and mired in an eight-game losing streak marked by injuries, poor play and fan upheaval, with constant calls the past several weeks for Pioli and Crennel to be fired.

The Twitter account for a fan group known as “Save Our Chiefs” recently surpassed 80,000 followers, about 17,000 more than the announced crowd at a recent game. The group was organizing a “Can Scott Pioli” food drive for Sunday that has since been canceled.

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Jake
32351
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Jake 12/01/12 - 03:50 pm
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Tragic

This is really, really sad for all of the people concerned, both living and the deceased.

Riverman1
82451
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Riverman1 12/01/12 - 04:41 pm
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Sorry for this tragic event,

Sorry for this tragic event, but a crowd of 63,000 at NFL prices is not bad.

F4therTime
4656
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F4therTime 12/01/12 - 05:22 pm
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Selfish act....
Unpublished

I will never understand anyone that does this...

itsanotherday1
42296
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itsanotherday1 12/01/12 - 09:02 pm
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Tragic for families and

Tragic for families and friends, but I'm glad he had the decency to take himself out after committing murder. He saved the taxpayers a boatload of money on trial and incarceration.

Yes, that was pretty glib and harsh I know. I seriously do wonder what is going on in someone's head to do such.

If my wife kicked me to the curb or committed adultery (same thing in my book), I would be totally devastated; but I still can't imagine killing someone I loved over it. It doesn't make sense, but you hear about these cases often.

PUPPYMOMMA
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PUPPYMOMMA 12/02/12 - 02:44 am
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There is a baby girl that

There is a baby girl that will never know her parents. She will grow up hearing stories from her relatives but will never feel her Mom's hug. That is a tragedy.

avidreader
3128
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avidreader 12/02/12 - 10:28 am
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to PUPPYMOMMA!

The baby girl -- this is the key factor in the story. No man in his right mind would do this and leave his baby motherless. There's a lot more to this story than we know. This guy was surely mentally ill.

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