KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Javon Belcher, a Kansas City Chiefs 25-year-old starting linebacker, shot and killed his girlfriend early Saturday morning, then drove to the team’s practice facility near Arrowhead Stadium and shot himself in the head, Kansas City police confirmed.
Police arrived at the practice facility moments after Belcher shot himself, and shortly after he met with Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and other team staff.
Police have indicated that Chiefs personnel attempted to persuade Belcher not to commit any further acts of violence. Belcher then apparently thanked Pioli and Crennel before turning the gun on himself.
The morning’s tragic events began at a house Belcher was leasing near Crysler and 54th Street at the eastern edge of Kansas City proper where Belcher, a native of Long Island, N.Y., got into an argument with his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins.
A friend of Perkins told The Kansas City Star the couple had argued because Perkins had been out late Friday attending the Trey Songz concert at The Midland Theater in Kansas City.
The friend, who asked not to be identified, said Belcher first confronted Perkins when she returned home about 1 a.m. Then at about 7 a.m., Belcher shot Perkins multiple times while Belcher’s mother and the couple’s three-month-old daughter were in the home. Perkins was taken to a nearby hospital and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
Belcher’s mother had recently moved to Kansas City from New York to help care for the child, according to Kansas City police spokesman Darren Snapp.
Belcher than drove to the team’s practice facility outside of Arrowhead Stadium, and then, according to police spokesman Darren Snapp, Belcher spoke with Pioli and Crennel before shooting himself once in the head as he walked away.
The Chiefs are scheduled to play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Arrowhead and the team informed the NFL it planned to play the game as scheduled.
Chiefs Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt released a statement regarding the tragic events:
“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,” Hunt said. “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.”
Belcher had been with the Chiefs for four years after signing as an undrafted free-agent out of Maine.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James arrived at the Chiefs’ practice facility Saturday morning and spoke with reporters.
“I just hope people will look at the act and not try to judge the person,” James said. “There are a lot of things you don’t know, that people don’t know.
“There are a lot of people who are hurting. There is a young baby without parents.”
Neighbors of Belcher were stunned by Saturday’s tragic events.
Kristen Van Mater, 31, a home health-care worker, lives about seven houses down the street from Belcher’s residence and told FOXSportsKansasCity.com that she often spoke to Belcher.
“I would walk by his house on my morning walk,” Van Mater said. “He seemed like a nice guy. I didn’t know he was a football player.
“This is very sad. I just talked to him a few days ago. He seemed fine.”
Van Mater said the neighborhood is quiet. Belchers’ house is an olive-colored split level at the end of block.
“Everyone stays pretty much to themselves,” she said. “Actually, a lot of policemen and firemen live around here.”
Another neighbor, Kenneth Ndikum, 40, said he didn’t know Belcher but saw him often.
“I’d wave to him and he’d always wave back and smile,” Ndikum said. “I never talked to him but he seemed friendly. I didn’t hear anything today, like shots or anything. Then we just saw the police cars there and all the commotion.”
Ndikum did notice that Belcher had a rather large gathering for Thanksgiving.
“There were a lot of cars and people,” he said. “Looked like a big party.”
Several Chiefs players took to Twitter to express their grief.
“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.”