By Glenn Rice, Randy Covitz and Kevin Collison, The Kansas City Star –
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher on Saturday morning shot and killed his girlfriend before going to Arrowhead Stadium and fatally shooting himself as team personnel tried to stop him, police said.
Expressions of sympathy poured in Saturday afternoon on social media from current and former Chiefs, other NFL players and teams, college football coaches and others.
“I am devastated by this morning’s events,” Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali tweeted. “I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Police Capt. David Lindaman said Belcher, 25, and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, 22, got into an argument at their home in the 5400 block of Crysler Avenue in Kansas City. Around 7:50 a.m. CST, Lindaman said, Belcher shot Perkins multiple times. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Lindaman said Belcher’s mother, who was visiting the couple and their 3-month-old daughter from New York, witnessed the shooting and had been interviewed by police.
Belcher left the scene on Crysler and went to the Chiefs practice facility at Arrowhead, police said.
Police were called to the stadium around 8:10 a.m. When Belcher arrived there he encountered General Manager Scott Pioli, Coach Romeo Crennel and other team personnel. Police said Chiefs staff attempted to keep Belcher from committing additional acts of violence.
“He had a conversation with Scott Pioli,” Lindaman said. “There was no threat and it was quite friendly, from what I understand. The Chiefs organization had been very supportive of him and he was expressing that.”
When police arrived, they heard a gunshot and found that Belcher had shot himself in the head.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James went to Arrowhead and met with Pioli afterward.
“Think about your worst nightmare and multiply it by five,” James said.
“Put somebody you know and love into that situation, and give them a gun, and stand three feet away from them and watch them kill themselves … It’s unfathomable.”
Chiefs owner Clark Hunt released the following statement: “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. 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.”
In a video titled “Belcher’s drive to succeed helps team and self” posted on the Chiefs website Nov. 21, Belcher commented on what he was most thankful for leading into the Thanksgiving holiday: “First and foremost, God. Family and friends just keeping me focused, coaches and just everyone.”
The video was removed Saturday afternoon.