In an apparent murder-suicide, a Kansas City Chiefs player shot himself in the head in front of his coaches at a team training facility after earlier shooting to death his girlfriend at her residence, police said.
Kansas City, Missouri, police spokesman Darin Snapp identified the player as linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, according to NFL.com.
The player took his life in the parking lot near Arrowhead Stadium as officers pulled up and saw him with a gun to his head talking to coaches, Snapp told reporters earlier.
About 20 minutes before to his suicide, the player shot his girlfriend in her nearby home, Snapp said.
NFL.com reported that Snapp said the mother described the relationship as “on-again, off-again.”
Also, Snapp told NFL.com that before his suicide, the player was talking 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 said.
The player thanked the general manager and coach for all they had done for him, according to NFL.com.
When officers arrived, the player walked away from the three Chiefs personnel and “a couple seconds later, they heard the gunshot,” Snapp told NFL.com. The shooting occurred outside the facility’s front doors.
In speaking to reporters at Arrowhead, Snapp stated: “There’s an eyewitness at the original scene, that gave us a suspect description, and it appears the suspect killed himself, so we shouldn’t be out here too much longer.”
The Chiefs confirmed an incident at the stadium. “We are cooperating with authorities in their investigation,” a team statement said.
The house in which the girlfriend was fatally shot is at the end of quiet, residential street of new homes, where sidewalks and driveways were recently paved and some parcels remained undeveloped. Police used yellow tape Saturday to cordon off the property surrounding the two-story split-level house.
Belcher, a 6-foot-2, 228-pound left inside linebacker, spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Chiefs, who signed him as a free agent out of college. In all, he played in 59 games, including 44 starts.
Belcher was from West Babylon, New York. He played for the University of Maine Black Bears, where he started in all 45 games of his four-year career.
On Saturday afternoon, the Chiefs told the NFL the team will play a home game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, as scheduled.
“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 and CEO Clark 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,” Hunt said in a statement.