KANSAS CITY, Missouri, December 2 – A player with US football’s Kansas City Chiefs fatally shot his girlfriend then drove to the team’s stadium and took his own life as his coaches pleaded with him not to pull the trigger.
Police Captain David Lindaman told the Kansas City Star newspaper that Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, shot himself at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday after killing his 22-year-old girlfriend following an altercation.
Police spokesman Darin Snapp told reporters at the stadium that authorities had responded to a call from the residence where the woman was shot.
Shortly after they received a second emergency call from the stadium, and as police were responding the second shooting took place.
“When officers arrived they observed a black male who had a gun to his head and he was talking to a couple of coaches out in the parking lot,” Snapp said.
“As officers pulled up and began to park, that’s when they heard the gunshot and it appears the individual took his own life.”
Police said Chiefs staff attempted to calm Belcher, who spoke with head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli before shooting himself.
“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.”
Lindaman said Belcher’s mother who was visiting her son, the girlfriend and their infant daughter, witnessed the shooting that led to the death of the young woman, Kasandra Perkins, who was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The Chiefs management expressed sorrow over Belcher’s suicide.
“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,” chairman 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.”
Belcher, who was originally from Long Island, New York, had been with the Chiefs for four years. He joined them as an undrafted free agent out of university and worked his way into a starting position.
The Chiefs said on Saturday that they would host the Carolina Panthers as scheduled on Sunday.
“After discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow’s game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time,” a statement on the team’s official website said.
The Panthers, who had already been advised by the league to stick to their scheduled travel plans, offered condolences to their Sunday opponents.
“The Carolina Panthers are very saddened by the tragic events that have transpired today and send their thoughts and prayers to the entire Kansas City Chiefs organization and to the family of the victim at this most difficult time,” a statement issued by the Panthers said.