Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher died in an apparent murder-suicide Saturday.
Police identified the second victim in the murder-suicide as 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins. Perkins died in a hospital of multiple gunshot wounds. She was Belcher’s girlfriend and mother of their 3-month-old daughter.
There was no immediate information on a motive in the slayings.
As the Chiefs and their community reeled after the day’s events, word came that Sunday’s scheduled NFL game against the Carolina Panthers would be played as scheduled at noon local time in Kansas City.
Belcher, 25, killed himself with a handgun in front of the Chiefs’ coach and general manager outside Arrowhead Stadium.
Read full story after the jumpKansas City police spokesman Darin Spann said Belcher shot Perkins at a suburban home and then drove five miles to the team’s practice facility in Kansas City, Mo. Confronted by Chiefs personnel with police arriving on the scene, Belcher thanked general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for their help.
Belcher then stepped away, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.
Authorities said that Belcher and his girlfriend had been arguing recently.
Authorities reported receiving a call Saturday morning from a woman who said her daughter had been shot multiple times. The call actually came from Belcher’s mother, who referred to the victim as her daughter, leading to initial confusion, police said.
Belcher was met by Pioli and Crennel in the parking lot of the practice facility and took his own life moments thereafter, according to Kansas City police supervisor Andrea Khan.
Upon arriving at the football facility, Snapp said, police saw a black male with a handgun to his head talking to Chiefs officials. Then police heard a gunshot.
“The description matched the suspect description from that other address. We kind of knew what we were dealing with,” Snapp said. Belcher was “holding a gun to his head” as he stood in front of the front doors of the practice 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.”
“We can confirm that there was an incident at Arrowhead earlier,” the Chiefs organization said in a statement. “We are cooperating with authorities in their investigation.”
Later, the team released a statement from chairman Clark Hunt.
“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,” Hunt said.
“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,” Hunt said. “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.”
Police Capt. David Lindaman told the Kansas City Star that Belcher was arguing with Perkins around 7 a.m. CT at their home.
Belcher joined the Chiefs in 2009 as an undrafted free agent from Maine. He started 10 of 11 games at inside linebacker this season and had 38 tackles. Belcher played all 16 games in each of the past three seasons in addition to the 11 in 2012.
Maine officials said Belcher graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in child development and family relations.
“I struggle a little bit, obviously, because Jovan Belcher’s profile elevates the subject,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said. “I hope people will look at the situation and try not to judge the person. There are a lot of people hurting. There’s a young baby right now without parents.”
James said that he spoke to Pioli after the incident. While he refused to discuss the GM’s emotional state, James said Pioli was “extremely concerned that fans of this team are not disappointed and not left in the cold.”
“I think they think there’s an obligation to the people of this city, the fans of the team and the fans of the other team to play the game,” James said.
The news cast a pall over the organization as its 1-10 team prepared to play the Panthers on Sunday.
Condolences also came from the Chiefs’ oldest and most bitter football rivals.
“The Oakland Raiders are empathizing with the Chiefs organization,” the team said in a release. “Our hearts are wounded by such an unimaginable tragedy in our NFL family. We will continue to pray for everyone involved.”
Maine’s football coach, Jack Cosgrove, said Belcher was a “tremendous student-athlete.”
“His move to the NFL was in keeping with his dreams,” Cosgrove said. “This is an indescribably horrible tragedy.”
Belcher was an outstanding wrestler in high school before committing to football. He became a solid defensive player at Maine, playing in Division I-AA competition.
After his senior year, Belcher was runner-up for the the college division’s defensive player of the year award. The honor is the Buck Buchanan Award, named for a standout player best known for his years with the Chiefs.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.