Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, left, and coach Romeo Crennel stand together before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. On Saturday, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher thanked Pioli and Crennel for giving him a chance in the NFL, before he turned away and fatally shot himself. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs officials knew that linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend were having relationship problems, and the team provided the couple with counseling in an effort to help, a police official said.
Belcher fatally shot Kasandra Perkins, 22, at their Kansas City home Saturday before shooting himself in the head in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot in front of team officials who were trying to stop him, including general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel.
Police Sgt. Richard Sharp told The Kansas City Star for a Tuesday story that the couple had been arguing over relationship and financial issues for months and that the team had been “bending over backward” trying to help them. Sharp didn’t specify how long the couple had been undergoing counseling.
When Belcher arrived at Arrowhead on Saturday, he encountered Pioli in the parking lot and told him the assistance the team had offered hadn’t fixed the couple’s problems and now “it was too late,” Sharp said.
Pioli tried to persuade Belcher to put down his gun as Crennel and linebackers coach Gary Gibbs arrived at the scene.
Belcher thanked the men for everything the team had done for him and asked if Pioli and team owner Clark Hunt would take care of his daughter, The Star reported.
After that, Belcher reportedly said, “Guys, I have to do this.”
“I was trying to get him to understand that life is not over,” Crennel said Monday. “He still has a chance and let’s get this worked out.”
When Belcher heard police sirens approaching, he knelt behind a vehicle and shot himself in the head.
Investigators believe Belcher killed himself because he was distraught over shooting Perkins, Sharp said.
“He cared about her,” Sharp said. “I don’t think he could live with himself.”
The night before the killings, Perkins had attended a concert downtown with friends and Belcher had been out at the Power and Light District, police said, while Belcher’s mother was watching their 3-month-old baby. Detectives don’t know exactly what the couple was arguing about but The Star reported that Belcher was upset that Perkins had stayed out so late.
Autopsies with toxicology tests were performed on both bodies but it could be weeks before results are known, police said.
Police spokesman Darin Snapp said Monday that Belcher’s mother was given temporary custody of the couple’s daughter.