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Belcher talked to Chiefs officials, walked away, then shot himself

December 01, 2012|By Joseph Serna

Kansas City, Mo., police released new details Saturday afternoon in the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who authorities said shot his girlfriend before killing himself at the team’s practice facility earlier in the day.

About 8 a.m., Belcher, 25, pulled up to the facility, about a quarter-mile away from Arrowhead Stadium, and spoke with Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and team General Manager Scott Pioli before police arrived, police said.

“They probably had a four- or five-minute conversation before he took his life,” said Kansas City Police Department spokesman Darin Snapp.

PHOTOS: Jovan Belcher's NFL career

Belcher, who just minutes earlier fatally shot his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, in the home they shared about five miles away, did not try to go into the practice facility for a team meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m., police said. Police estimated there were about 20 people at the facility at the time.

He parked his car awkwardly in front of the practice facility's glass doors and got out, police said. Stadium security could tell “something was up” and called police, Snapp said. Crennel and Pioli then came outside to talk to Belcher, who was holding a gun to his head, police said.

The two told police they never felt they were in danger.

Belcher was “pretty much thanking them for everything they’d done for him since he’s been a Chief,” Snapp said.

When officers arrived, Belcher turned and walked west toward the empty parking lot, shooting himself after walking about 30 feet.

About the same time, Perkins was being taken to the hospital. She died about 30 minutes after the shooting, Snapp said.

The couple had a 3-month old daughter who was in the house at the time of the shooting but was in another room, Snapp said. Belcher’s mother had recently moved into the home from New York and called police, he said.

“Every couple has their issues and I was just over there a few days ago and everything was fine, they seemed happy,” Brianne York, a friend of Perkins', said in a video on the Kansas City Star’s website. “She was very loving. I don’t know why he would want to hurt her like that.”

Belcher and Perkins reportedly had a tumultuous relationship. Police said the couple had been fighting in the hour leading up to the shooting, but declined to say what it was about. Perkins was from Texas and Belcher was from Long Island, N.Y. He played football for the University of Maine before joining the Chiefs four years ago as an undrafted free agent.

The death has rocked the Kansas City and NFL communities.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James met with Pioli at the stadium after the shooting.

“Think about your worst nightmare and multiply it by five,” James told the Star. “Put somebody you know and love into that situation, and give them a gun, and stand three feet away from them and watch them kill themselves.... It’s unfathomable.”

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt released a statement on behalf of the team.

“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. 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 authorities and work to ensure that the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of the organization.”

Chiefs players reacted on Twitter.

“I am devastated and heartbroken,” offensive lineman Jeff Allen wrote. “I’m sending prayers out to everyone involved. Always show love and never be afraid to talk.”

Tony Moeaki, a tight end for the Chiefs who has played with Belcher since 2010, wrote Belcher was “[o]ne of everyone’s favorite teammates including one of mine. Great great great teammate. We will miss him forever.”

The Oakland Raiders, a division rival with the Chiefs, released a statement.

“The Oakland Raiders are empathizing with the Chiefs organization. Our hearts are wounded by such an unimaginable tragedy in our NFL family. We will continue to pray for everyone involved.”

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @josephserna

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