KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — 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.
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 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 down the facility by mid-morning and reporters were confined to the street outside the gates.
The team said it would play its home game against the Carolina Panthers as scheduled Sunday at noon “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 Sunday.
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.
“The entire Chiefs family is deeply saddened by today's events, and our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy, thoughts and prayers for the families and friends affected by this unthinkable tragedy,” Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. “We sincerely appreciate the expressions of sympathy and support we have received from so many in the Kansas City and NFL communities, and ask for continued prayers for the loved ones of those impacted.
“We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities and work to ensure that the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of the organization.”
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, “probably to help out with the baby,” Snapp said.
Police then received a phone call from the Chiefs' training facility.
“The description matched the suspect description from that other address. We kind of knew what we were dealing with,” Snapp said. The player was “holding a gun to his head” as he stood in front of the front doors of the practice facility.
The coaches told police they never felt that they where 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.”
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