Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, shot himself in the head in front of his coaches after shooting his girlfriend to death at the residence they shared together.
The murder-suicide occurred Saturday morning outside the team's practice complex. Belcher's girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, is the mother of the couple's 3-month-old daughter who was reportedly inside the home when the killing occurred. The baby is now with relatives.
Kansas City Police spokesman Darin Snapp said that 25-year-old Belcher took his life approximately 20 minutes after shooting Perkins. Before his suicide in the parking lot near Arrowhead Stadium, the player spoke to Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, coach Romeo Crennel and an unnamed Chiefs staff member. Pioli and Crennel "never felt like they were in danger," Snapp told CNN.com. The player thanked the general manager and coach for all they had done for him before fatally pulling the gun on himself.
No word on a motive for the murder-suicide has been released by authorities although police have have announced that the two had been arguing recently. Photos of the couple and their newborn during happier times flood Perkins' Instagram page, where she writes that her daughter's birthday was the "best day of my life."
Belcher was a native of West Babylon, NY who played college football at the University of Maine. He debuted with the Chiefs during the 2009 season. Belcher became the Chiefs' starting inside linebacker in the 2011 NFL season and had played in all 11 games this season.
"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 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." The Chiefs announced Saturday they will play the Carolina Panthers as scheduled on Sunday.