Another sad chapter of violence ended this morning when starting inside linebacker Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs shot himself in the head at the team’s training facility this morning.
Belcher first murdered his girlfriend, 22 yr old Kasandra Perkins, before driving about five miles to the Chiefs’ facility where he ended his life in front of Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and Head Coach Romeo Crennel just after 8 a.m. this morning.
According to a telephone interview with Kansas City Police spokesman Darin Snapp, Snapp said “About (7:50 a.m), we got a call to a residence, in regards to a shooting, on the 5400 block of Crysler Avenue. The young woman was taken to a local hospital, where she died a short time later. At about 8:10 a.m., we received a call to the Arrowhead practice facility in regards to a black male armed with a gun in the parking lot, and he matched the description of the shooting suspect. Officers arrived, saw a black man with a gun to his head, and some Chiefs employees. As the officer got out of his car, he heard a gunshot. It appeared the individual shot himself. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”
He said the shooting occurred outside the front doors of the Chiefs’ training facility.
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt released the following statement following the incident:
“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.”
Ironically, Belcher was one of few gems embattled GM Pioli had found. An undrafted free agent, he was signed by Pioli in 2009. He went from a special-teams standout to a starting ILB in the Chiefs’ 3-4 defense. He never missed a game in his 3-plus year career and after his rookie season he started all but 2 games.
The news comes as a shock to everyone in the NFL and around the nation just a day before their scheduled home game against the Carolina Panthers. Reports indicate the NFL has told the Panthers’ organization to continue their normal plans to make the trip and play the game tomorrow.
Belcher’s untimely death ultimately should re-re-re-refocus the medical community on the highly disproportionate violence involved with current and former NFL players, possibly pointing to as-yet undiagnosed TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) in Belcher. Recall that Junior Seau also killed himself earlier this year, but didn’t drag anyone else into his own violent and deathly act. At the moment, no information on this is available.
It’s obviously a sad day for everyone in the NFL, fans of the game, and everyone who knew Belcher or Ms. Perkins. Since the NFL is in the entertainment business…”The Show Must Go On.”
The Panthers should be favored in the contest but we’ll have to watch the game to see how it affects the play on the field.
A lot more details are available at NFL.com.
Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye