Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher kills girlfriend, then himself

The argument apparently started about 1 a.m. Saturday, when Kasandra Perkins returned to her Kansas City home from the Trey Songz concert at The Midland and drinks afterward with friends.

Her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, lived with her and was mad that she’d stayed out so late, a friend of Perkins said.

The disagreement ended tragically about seven hours later, when Belcher killed Perkins by shooting her multiple times at the couple’s home, witnessed by his mother who was in from New York visiting the couple and their 3-month-old daughter.

Belcher then drove the few miles to Arrowhead Stadium, where, in a parking lot outside the team’s practice facility, he fatally shot himself as Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, coach Romeo Crennel and other team personnel tried to stop him.

News of the deaths spread quickly and resonated around the nation. Expressions of sympathy poured in from current and former Chiefs, other National Football League players and teams, college football coaches and others.

“I am devastated by this morning’s events,” Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali tweeted. “I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Police Capt. David Lindaman said Belcher, 25, and Perkins, 22, were arguing at their home in the 5400 block of Crysler Avenue in Kansas City. Around 7:50 a.m., Lindaman said, Belcher shot Perkins.

Lindaman said Belcher’s mother called 911, and Perkins was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Belcher left the scene on Crysler and drove his Bentley to the Chiefs practice facility at Arrowhead, said police, who were called to the training facility there

When Belcher arrived there he encountered Pioli, Crennel and an assistant coach. Police said Chiefs staff tried to keep Belcher from committing more acts of violence.

“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.”

Belcher then walked a few feet away and pulled out a handgun. Chiefs staffers tried to intervene, but Belcher shot himself in the head.

Police had been called about 8:10 a.m., and when they arrived they heard the gunshot and found Belcher fatally wounded.

Relatives of Perkins declined to comment, and Belcher’s family could not be reached. Lindaman said Belcher’s mother was interviewed by police.

The friend of Perkins who said the argument started after the Trey Songz concert did not want her name to be used because of the sensitivity of the situation. As news of the deaths spread, she and other friends gathered outside the home where Perkins and Belcher lived.

Perkins went to high school in Austin, Texas, and came to Kansas City about three years ago. The friend said she and Belcher had dated for most of that time.

Another friend, Jennifer Ashley, said Perkins was introduced to Belcher by the wife of another Chiefs player.

“She was sweet, very nice and down to earth,” Ashley said. “She cared about people. She was a person who didn’t talk about her problems.”

Ashley said Perkins had been a student at Blue River Community College and was studying to become a schoolteacher. Ashley said she had not enrolled in classes for the fall semester because of her daughter’s birth.

Ashley said she last spoke to Perkins on Friday as they left a yoga class at the 24 Hour Fitness in Independence. Ashley told Perkins that she missed seeing her. They hugged and went their separate ways.

“I’m really glad I got to see her,” Ashley said. “She is a really good person. This is surreal.”

Pictures on Perkins’ Facebook page show she was a proud mother, displaying images of the baby sleeping, smiling, taking a bath and looking up at her dad. Just 10 days before her death, Perkins posted photos from the baby’s checkup at the doctor.

She told her Facebook friends that her daughter received three inoculations and joked that the baby didn’t like the nurse. Back in October, she posted a photo of her and the baby with the words, “Just hangin w/mommy.”

A friend posted that the baby looked like “Jovan’s twin.” Perkins replied: “Jovan Jr.”

On Sept. 14, three days after the baby’s birth, Perkins posted a photo on Facebook of Belcher holding their daughter. She wrote: “My loves.”

Brianne York, 21, described herself as a close friend of Perkins.

“She was a very good person; she was fun to be around and very loving,” she said. “I don’t know why he’d want to hurt her like that.

“I love her and I wish she was still here and I wish Jovan was still here, too. I think they could have worked it out. It shouldn’t have happened.”

York said the couple appeared to be getting along well the last time she visited.

“I was just over there a few days ago and everything seemed fine and they seemed to be happy,” she said. “We were good friends, but they liked to keep their relationship personal.”

But other friends who came to the home on Crysler said the couple argued frequently.

The friend who asked not to be identified said early Saturday morning seemed no different.

Perkins had accompanied a group of friends to the Trey Songz concert. Afterward, the group went for drinks and was having a good time, the friend said.

Belcher called Perkins’ cellphone, wanting to know when she was coming home, the friend said, and after Perkins arrived about 1 a.m., the couple argued.

Belcher, originally from Long Island near New York City, had been with the Chiefs for four years. He joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Maine.

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt released the following statement: “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 the authorities and work to ensure that the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of the organization.”

The Star’s Kevin Collison contributed to this report.
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