Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then drove to the Chiefs' facilities at Arrowhead Stadium and took his own life in front of some team employees, including coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli, on Saturday morning.
Police told the Kansas City Star that Belcher, 25, and Perkins got into an argument at approximately 7:00 a.m. Saturday at a residence in nearby Independence, Mo. Belcher shot Perkins multiple times. She was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead there. The couple had a 3-month-old daughter, who is currently safe in the care of a relative.
Members of the Chiefs' staff tried to stop Belcher from committing any other acts of violence before the player turned a gun on himself. The team's practice facility was evacuated and put on police lockdown.
The Chiefs were scheduled to host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and the team has announced on its official site that the game will proceed as scheduled.
"After discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow's game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Chiefs and the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a league statement. "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."
Perkins' mother called police after witnessing the incident and told them that her daughter had been shot. Police arrived at the Chiefs' facility only to find Belcher in the parking lot with a gun to his head. As one officer got out of his car, he heard a gunshot. Belcher was later pronounced dead. Pioli, Crennel, and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs were among the team employees in the vicinity. Belcher reportedly thanked Crennel and Pioli for all they had done for him, and then took his own life.
"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," Kansas City police spokesman Darin 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.
"They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they'd done for him. They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything. That's when he walked away and shot himself."
Chiefs players were asked to assemble at the team's main facility so that they can be informed of all the details.
"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," team Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. "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."
Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.