Kansas City Chief Belcher may have struggled with head injuries, alcohol, and painkillers before killing his girlfriend, friends say Tipster claims Belcher drank heavily every day and was experiencing short-term memory lossHead injuries and painkillers may have contributed to Belcher's mental stateKansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, shot and killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, 22, at their home Saturday morningFirst he thanked his coach and general manager for everything they had done for him and then he shot himself in the head in front of them
10:21 GMT, 3 December 2012
Friends of Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher say his mental state may have been deteriorated due to a history of head injuries, pain killers, and alcohol abuse.
Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend in front of his mother at their Kansas City home on Saturday, then drove to the team's practice facility, where he committed suicide in the parking lot as head coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Scott Pioli watched.
The tragedy dampened the atmosphere at the Arrowhead Stadium and tempered the joy of the victory, which snapped an eight-game losing streak and improved Kansas City's record to 2-10.
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Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, shot and killed his girlfriend and then himself on Saturday morning
Happy family: Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins before shooting himself at the Kansas City Chiefs' stadium on Saturday morning
Row: The couple apparently argued on Friday night after Perkins attended a concert by Trey Songz
And now person claiming to be close to Belcher
has revealed in a series of e-mails that these issues as well as
long-term domestic problems between himself and his girlfriend may have
led Belcher to the murder-suicide he committed Saturday morning.
In a series of e-mails to Deadspin, the friend describes
'They have been arguing for quite sometime and had separated 2 weeks ago,' the anonymous friend wrote. 'He had brought her and the baby back home however, they were both
arguing on a regular basis. Both of them are/were very young and
immature and that combined with other factors led to this tragedy.'
The friend adds that many of their recent arguments focused on Perkins failing college classes Belcher paid for and quitting
her retail job, as well as telling Belcher that she was leaving him and would find a lawyer to 'get as much money as possible' from the football player.
And Belcher may have reacted to all this differently if he wasn't messed up from booze, meds, and taking shots to the head on the field.
Family man: Belcher with his girlfriend at the birth of his son just months before he left the child orphaned
'When it comes to prescription medication it is unclear
from my perspective whether it was diagnosed and authorized by the team
or not,' the friend wrote. 'However I know he was under the influence of narcotics for pain
and I'm sure the toxicology report will reflect this. However, Jovan
drank ALOT. On a nightly basis. This is not a mystery as he did so in
public and private.
'When it comes to his concussions; if you
review the footage of the Cincinnati game he took a few hits to the head
directly […] he was dazed and was suffering from short term memory
loss. He could not remember the events that had taken place prior to
that game or what he had said to get Kasi to return home.'
MailOnline recently revealed that
the NFL star was a member of a group which campaigns against violence
Belcher was part of Male Athletes
Against Violence and had pledged to develop deep-held beliefs against
the promises he would have made is one to ‘look honestly at my actions
in regard to violence and make changes if necessary’.
Belcher would also have taken part in
the White Ribbon campaign – those taking part vow to ‘never to commit,
condone nor remain silent about violence against women’.
Respect: Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers players form a prayer circle after the game
Mourning: Belcher's teammates observe a moment of silence before the start of their NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Kansas City
Hurt: Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel wipes tears away on the sidelines of Sunday's game
The 25-year-old linebacker was a
member of MAAV whilst studying at the University of Maine where he
played football for three years until he signed with the Kansas City
Chiefs in 2009.
On Saturday his past as an
anti-violence campaigner apparently meant little when he shot Perkins dead in a row when she came home from
an R&B concert the night before.
His mother discovered the body as she was living in the house too and called 911.
Belcher then drove to his team’s stadium and shot himself dead in front of his coach and general manager.
He and Perkins lived together and three months ago had a baby girl but are said to have rowed frequently.
The horrific murder suicide came one
day before a Kansas home game against the Carolina Panthers which went ahead as scheduled, which the Chiefs won 27-21.
As friends and family try to work out
what drove Belcher over the edge, it now seems that in recent years he
was a champion of women’s rights.
City rocked: A fan expresses his sorrow following at Sunday's game
Respects: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn gestures to heaven after a touchdown pass during the first half the teams game against the Carolina Panthers
Memorial: Kansas City Chiefs fans build a makeshift memorial for Belcher outside Arrowhead Stadium
Whilst at UMaine he was part of MAAV
which describes itself as an ‘effort to involve men so that we can begin
to understand that violence is very much a ‘man’s issue.’'
It supports the White Ribbon campaign
in which male athletes wear a white ribbon as a public display of their
stand against violent men.
Among the promotional posters are
some with football players which have slogans like: ‘Join the huddle.
Work together to end violence’ and ‘Stand tough against violence’.
Belcher himself has even spoken about his respect for women which he developed because his father was never around.
In a 2008 interview he said: ‘My mother is a hardworking woman. To see her overcome some things and succeed, it makes me look at things and say, ‘this isn’t even hard.’
‘I didn’t really have a father figure, so they provided nice guidance for me.’
Gone: Belcher's baby will never know its mother
Crime scene: Investigators stand outside an Independence, Mo., house where police say Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend on Saturday morning
On Facebook, a profile for Kasandra Perkins includes pictures of her and Belcher with their three month old baby
Judging from pictures posted on
Kasandra's Facebook page, Belcher and his girlfriend had appeared to be
happy and in love following the birth of their first child.
Belcher had argued with his girlfriend after she came home
late from an R&B concert the night before he shot her dead then
drove to his team's stadium and committed suicide in front of his coach
and general manager, it has emerged.
The 25-year-old Kansas City Chiefs
linebacker fatally shot 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins early on Saturday
morning, then killed himself in the presence of Chiefs staff after first
thanking them for everything they had done for him, police said.
couple lived together and three months ago had a baby together on
11 – but a friend said they quarrelled frequently, and added that they
fought when Perkins arrived home at 1am after attending a performance by
Authorities did not confirm 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.
Judging from pictures posted on
Kasandra's Facebook page, the young couple had appeared to be happy and
in love following the birth of their first child.
and Kasandra always seemed to be in love. In fact, when Kasandra got
pregnant, she and Jovan were ecstatic. Ever since the baby was born in
September, the two couldn’t have seemed happier together,' a member of the Perkin's family told TMZ.
However, a friend told the Kansas City Star
she had frequently seen them argue over the course of their
relationship – though she had no reason to believe their fights had ever
Grieving: Belcher's friends and relatives gathered outside his family home in West Babylon, New York
Comfort: Two people embrace outside Belcher's home, hung with jerseys from the teams he played for
Toast: Mourners drink to Belcher's memory after receiving news of his death on Saturday
night, she added, Belcher had confronted Perkins when she came home
Happier days: Belcher and his girlfriend goof off in a photo booth
R&B star Trey Songz perform in Kansas City.
agent Joe Linta told ESPN’s Adam Schefter: 'I'm in shock. So out of
character. He was the last person in the world you would expect to do
'Jovan was a happy, proud father, with pictures of his baby on his Facebook page,' Linta told SI.com's
Peter King in a phone call on Saturday afternoon. 'This is shocking.
Something went crazy wrong, and we'll probably never know what it is.'
'Never until four hours ago did I
think Jovan was anything but a model citizen,' Linta told King.
'He came to my youth clinics in the offseason and
worked with kids. He was a gracious, unselfish, hard-working, dedicated
kid — very, very caring of some of the underprivileged kids who came to
the clinics. I saw him in a real positive way.
'I never take on anyone as a client I wouldn't be proud to take
home and spend time with my wife and kids. Jovan was one of those type
'There's no word for this other than shocking. That's all I can think of.'
Belcher was a 25-year-old native of
West Babylon, New York, on Long Island, played college ball at Maine. He
had played all four of his NFL seasons for the Chiefs and played in
every game each year, including the 11 so far this season. His 2012
salary was $1,927,000, four times what he had earned for the previous
Before turning the gun on himself, Belcher thanked Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel for all they had done for him, police spokesman Darin Snapp said.
Belcher's mother had recently moved in with the couple, possibly to help with the baby, at their residence in Independence, Missouri about five miles away from the Arrowhead complex.
She called police just before 8 a.m. to
report Perkins had been shot multiple times. Perkins was transported to
The University of Kansas hospital, where she died a short time later.
'When we arrived, a lady informed us
that her daughter had been shot multiple times by her boyfriend, by the
daughter's boyfriend,' Snapp said. 'She identified him as a Chiefs
Snapp told KCTV5 that a call was then received from the Chiefs' practice facility.
Jovan Belcher #59 stretches before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in 2009
'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.
'And there were 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
'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.
Kasandra Perkins' Facebook profile includes pictures of her with Belcher and their young baby
Jovan Belcher pictured changing his young child's diaper
Originally from Texas, Kasandra Perkins had moved to Missouri to be with Belcher
'They said he was not a danger to anyone else,” Snapp said. 'Belcher
thanked them for being a Chief, and that's when he walked away.'
Outside Belcher's family home in West Babylon, Long Island, family and friends gathered on Saturday afternoon to toast their deceased friends life.
They have created a shrine to the football player on Matthews Avenue complete with Chiefs jerseys and flags from the University of Maine.
Ruben Marshall, a family friend who said he was Belcher's Police Athletic League coach growing up, told Newsday Belcher was a 'loving father and family man.'
'I couldn't believe it,' he said upon hearing the news Saturday morning. 'I didn't want to believe it,' Marshall, 42, said as he stood outside the home.
'He was a good person,” Marshall said. 'Somebody you'd want to be around as a role model.'
Upon arriving at the Arrowhead Stadium complex, police witnessed a black male in a car with a handgun to his head talking to two Chiefs officials
Before killing himself, Belcher thanked Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel for everything he had done for him
'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,' Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a
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,' Hunt said. 'We will
continue to fully cooperate with the authorities and work to ensure that
the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of
released a statement that also expressed sympathy and said, 'we have
connected the Chiefs with our national team of professional counselors
to support both the team and the families of those affected. We will
continue to provide assistance in any way that we can.'
Kansas City Mayor Sly James went to Arrowhead and met with Pioli afterward, according to the Kansas City Star.
Shooting: Arrowhead Stadium is home of the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City
Belcher had been the Chiefs starting inside linebacker for the last two seasons after going undrafted in 2009
'Think about your worst nightmare and multiply it by five,' James was quoted as saying.
'This is part of the tragedy of urban living in this country,' Mayor James told reporters outside the practice facility.
all over the place, people blowing themselves away, and others. At some
point we have to get a handle on this kind of stuff. We are not doing a
good job of it.'
Belcher is the second Kansas City Chiefs employee to be involved in a murder-suicide in the last four months. On Labor Day Luis Angel Roberson Rodriquez, who worked in the Chiefs stadium operations department, killed himself after shooting his girlfriend Jamie Kristine Kimble near the Tampa International Airport.
The Kansas City Chiefs home game against the Carolina Panthers is scheduled to go ahead on Sunday
The body of Belcher's girlfriend was taken to The University of Kansas Hospital
The season has been a massive
disappointment for the Chiefs, who were expected to contend for the AFC
But they're just 1-10
and mired in an eight-game losing streak that has been marked by
devastating injuries and fan upheaval, with constant calls the past few
weeks for general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel to be
Chiefs have been ravaged by injuries, led the league in turnovers,
can't settle on a quarterback and are dealing with a full-fledged fan
rebellion. The Twitter account for a fan group known as “Save Our
Chiefs” recently surpassed 80,000 followers, about 17,000 more than the
announced crowd at a recent game.
Things have been so bad this season that Crennel fired himself as defensive coordinator.
THE NFL'S DEADLY HISTORY OF CONCUSSIONS AND SUICIDES
The motive for Belcher's murder-suicide is unknown at this point, but authorities will undoubtedly consider the impact of head injuries he may have sustained playing in the NFL.
In the past two years, the suicides of six NFL players have been linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repeated blows to the head.
Sufferers can show symptoms such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression which may appear within months or many decades later. Later in life it can eventually cause dementia.
Experts believe CTE may be caused by the loss of neurons and scarring of brain tissue among other injuries caused by repeated concussion.
It changes brain cells' cytoskeletons, which is thought to be due to damage to cerebral blood vessels. The condition is virtually indistinguishable from Alzheimer’s.
Players who have committed suicide in recent years, with possible links to the condition, include:
Dave Duerson: This two-time Super Bowl winner shot himself in February 2011 after texting family members asking for his brain to be examined for CTE.
Wade Belak: The former Nashville Predator was found dead in September 2011, having hanged himself in a Toronto hotel room.
Junior Seau: In May 2012 the former San Diego Charger died of a gunshot wound to the chest. He was found by his girlfriend at his home in California.
Kurt Crain: The South Alabama associate head football coach, who once played in the NFL, shot himself in April 2012. He had had reportedly been suffering from a severe prostate infection.
Ray Easterling: Also in April, this one-time Atlanta Falcons star shot himself at home after struggling to cope with dementia.
O.J. Murdock: In July, the 25-year-old Tennessee Titans wide receiver fatally shot himself while sitting in his car after texting his coach to apologise.
Video: Kansas City football player shoots his girlfriend dead and then kills himself