Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, police said, before he drove to team headquarters and fatally shot himself as Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli watched.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It began like most other Saturdays for the Kansas City Chiefs during the NFL season, their general manager and coach at work early to prepare for Sunday’s game.
The men got a call to hurry to the parking lot of team headquarters and soon were face to face with linebacker Jovan Belcher.
Belcher already had killed his girlfriend, according to police. Upon finding his bosses, Belcher thanked GM Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for giving him a chance in the NFL. Then Belcher, 25, turned away and pulled the trigger of the handgun pointed toward his head.
The apparent murder-suicide shocked a franchise that was dealing with controversies made trivial by comparison: eight consecutive losses, numerous injuries, discontent among fans and the prospect Pioli and Crennel could be fired at season’s end.
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Authorities did not release a possible motive while piecing together the case, other than to note Belcher and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, had been arguing frequently.
The two of them left behind a 3-month-old girl. She was being cared for by family.
Belcher reportedly shot Perkins multiple times while his mother watched. A friend of Perkins said Belcher was angry because his girlfriend didn’t return until about 1 a.m. after attending a Trey Songz concert and having drinks with friends.
The Chiefs issued a statement that said their game Sunday against the Carolina Panthers would go on as scheduled.
“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 Clark Hunt said in a statement.
A spokesman for the team said Crennel plans to coach Sunday. Police said Chiefs personnel told them they never felt in any danger after Belcher’s arrival at team headquarters.
Kansas City quarterback Brady Quinn said, “I know a bunch of the guys are going to try to set up a fund to try to take care of (Belcher’s) daughter.”
Belcher, an undrafted free agent from Maine who signed with the Chiefs in 2009, had started 26 of the team’s last 27 games and made a career-high 120 tackles last season.