Starting inside linebacker Jovan Belcher of the Chiefs is dead.
Belcher shot himself Saturday morning in the players’ parking lot at the team’s practice facility in the Truman Sports Complex. He did this in front of GM Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and several other staff members. The single shot from a handgun came just as Kansas City police arrived at the scene in search of the linebacker.
His death came less than 30 minutes after he had shot and killed his 22-year old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins at their home they shared in Independence. The shooting came after an argument that reportedly began around 7 a.m.. Belcher then left the house and drove to the practice facility. He was met by Chiefs officials who attempted to talk him out of further violence, but he pulled the trigger and took his own life.Â Perkins died at an area hospital. Belcher was declared dead at the scene.
There’s been some confusion as to who else was in the house at the time of the shooting, whether it was Kasandra’s mother Becky Gonzalez or Belcher’s mother Cheryl Shepard. Also in the house was the couples three-month old daughter Zoey.
The Chiefs facility remained stunned and grieving early Saturday afternoon as players had reported to work for their normal day before a team meeting and walkthrough session. It’s not known whether any of his teammates talked with Belcher or saw him take his life.
“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,” said team chairman Clark Hunt in a statement released by the team. “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.”
Around 2:45 p.m. on Saturday the Chiefs released this statement: “After discussions between the league office, head coach Romeo Crennel and team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow’s game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time (noon).”
Kansas City, Missouri mayor Sly James met with the Chiefs in the late morning and said that Pioli was “very emotional about this.” James indicated he understood Pioli’s reaction.
“I can tell you that you have absolutely no idea of what it’s like to see somebody kill themselves,” James said as reporter by Yahoo. “If you can take your worst nightmare and then put somebody you know and love into that situation and give them a gun and stand 3 feet away from them and watch them kill themselves, that’s what it’s like. It’s unfathomable. It’s something that you would love to wash away from your mind, but you can’t do it. There’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like it. Think about your worst nightmare and multiply by five.”
Belcher’s actions were far different than the reputation and personality he had developed in his time with the Chiefs.
“Never â€¦ did I think Jovan was anything but a model citizen,” said his agent Joe Linta, who also represents head coach Romeo Crennel. Linta spoke to SI.com. “He came to my youth clinics in the offseason and worked with kids. He was gracious, unselfish, hard-working, dedicated kid, very, very caring of some of the underprivileged kids who came to the clinics. I saw him in a real positive way.”