KANSAS CITY (AP/KXAN) - Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend early Saturday, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself. He committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager after thanking them for everything they had done for him, police said.
Authorities reported receiving a call Saturday morning from a woman who said her daughter had been shot multiple times at a residence about five miles away from the Arrowhead complex. The call actually came from Belcher's mother, who referred to the victim as her daughter, leading to some initial confusion, police said.
Police said Perkins and Belcher had a 3-month-old together and that Belcher's mother recently had moved in with the couple, possibly to help with the baby.
"When we arrived, a lady informed us that her daughter had been shot multiple times by her boyfriend, by the daughter's boyfriend," KCPD spokesperson Darrin Snapp said. "She identified him as a Chiefs player."
The woman, identified by police as 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins, was taken to a local hospital where she later died. Perkins is a 2009 graduate of Anderson High School in Austin. Her family, contacted by phone, declined to comment and asked for privacy.
In the Dallas area, Perkins' aunt expressed regret and sadness over the incident.
"Our family has suffered a tragic loss," Debbie Sutherby told KXAS on the phone. "My heart goes out to my family as well as his family."
At 8:02 a.m., police were called to the Chiefs practice facility on reports of an armed man.
"The description matched the suspect description from that other address. We kind of knew what we were dealing with," he said.
The player was "holding a gun to his head" as he stood in front of the front doors of the practice facility.
"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."
The coaches told police they never felt in any danger, Snapp said.
"They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they'd done for him," he said. "They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything. That's when he walked away and shot himself."
He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Authorities did not immediately release a possible motive for the murder-suicide, which stunned the team and came one day before a home game against the Carolina Panthers. The NFL said the game would go on as scheduled.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James said that he spoke to Pioli after the incident, and while he refused to discuss the GM's emotional state, the mayor 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.
Belcher is the latest among several players and NFL retirees to die from self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the past couple of years. The death of the beloved star Junior Seau, who shot himself in the chest in at his California home in May, sent shockwaves around the league.
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