A Kansas City policeman confirmed yesterday that Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend at their home early Saturday, and then drove to Arrowhead Stadium where he committed suicide in front of three team officials. Before he shot himself, it is thought that Belcher thanked general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel for giving him the opportunity to play for Chiefs. Belcher, 25, and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, 22, had a 3-month-old daughter, authorities said. It was Belcher’s mother who reported the first shooting at 8.00am and called 911. Perkins, who was shot several times, died at a nearby hospital. Belcher’s mother now has custody of the couple’s daughter.
The murder-suicide has stunned all who knew Belcher, as he was described as well liked and a role model for other players. Frank Riviezzo, who was the defensive coordinator at West Babylon when Belcher played there said: “I never got any vibes about something like this.” Police confirmed that Belcher and Perkins were arguing shortly before the shooting, and a friend of Perkins’ who asked not to be identified said the couple argued after the woman was out late attending a concert. Belcher’s agent Joe Linta said on SI.com: “Something went crazy wrong, and we’ll probably never know what it is,” he added he ‘never in a million years’ thought the player was capable of such violence.
Belcher graduated in 2005 from West Babylon High School, where he played linebacker, tackle, nose guard and fullback. He went on to become a star linebacker at the University of Maine, where he graduated with a degree in child development. Belcher reportedly earned $1.927 million with the KC Chiefs, who at 1-10 have the NFL’s worst record. Yesterday, KC Chiefs chairman and chief executive Clark Hunt said: “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.”
It is thought that after Belcher shot his girlfriend, he drove up to the Chiefs’ practice facility by Arrowhead, where he pulled up to the entrance and was seen by the security guard as holding a gun.This was then reported to the police. Pioli, Crennel and an unidentified person then went out to talk to Belcher and it was at this time that he thanked them and walked away. When he was around 30 or 40 feet away, Belcher fired one shot to his head as the three men looked on. Kansas City Mayor Sly James went to Arrowhead and met with Pioli afterward, according to The Kansas City Star. James said: “Think about your worst nightmare and multiply it by five.”
In a statement released by the school, Maine football coach Jack Cosgrove said Belcher was a ‘tremendous student-athlete’. Cosgrove went on to say: “His move to the NFL was in keeping with his dreams. This is an indescribably horrible tragedy. At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Jovan, Kasandra and their families.”