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Murder-suicide stuns Chiefs' players neighborhood

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 5:50 p.m.
 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People were coming and going Sunday from a house where a day before Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself in front of his coach and general manager outside the team's practice facility.

Police did not release any additional information about the murder-suicide. Belcher shot Kasandra M. Perkins, 22, multiple times Saturday morning before driving about five miles to Arrowhead Stadium, thanking general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for all they'd done for him. Belcher then fatally shot himself in the practice facility's parking lot.

Belcher and Perkins, who originally was from Texas, had a 3-month-old daughter.

A man who answered the door at the couple's home asked reporters, “Can you all respect grieving?” A short time later, at the same time the Chiefs were playing the Carolina Panthers, two men loaded bags into a car, and two women drove away.

Attempts to reach various members of Perkins' family in Austin, Texas, were unsuccessful.

Against the backdrop of an unthinkable tragedy, the Chiefs gave themselves a reason to be proud — and perhaps the impetus to let the healing begin.

Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, and Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards in the Chiefs' 27-21 victory. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak during one of the most difficult seasons the franchise has experienced.

Pioli walked through the press box before the game and said he was doing “OK,” though he didn't stop to talk. Crennel was on the sideline coaching his team.

“As far as playing the game, I thought that was the best for us to do because that's what we do,” Crennel said, tears forming in the corner of his eyes. “We're football players and football coaches and that's what we do, we play on Sunday.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera greeted Crennel at midfield and gave him a hug.

“They played an inspired football game,” Rivera said. “They did some really good things, and we have to give them credit, because they suffered through a very difficult time.”

Chiefs players gathered in the tunnel leading to the field for a brief prayer before their pregame stretching. A few fans in the half-empty stadium held up signs referencing the shootings, and there was a moment of silence to remember victims of domestic violence.

Belcher's locker was left with his jersey hanging on a hook.

“It's been an incredibly difficult 24 hours for our family and our entire organization,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt told The Associated Press. “We have so many guys on our team and our coaching staff who are really, really hurting.”

Kansas City police have not released a motive for the shootings.

Neighbors in the newly built Kansas City subdivision where the couple had lived since April were stunned by Saturday's events.

Kristen VanMeter, 31, lives near the couple and said she had taken community-college courses with Perkins.

“He was kind of quiet,” she said of Belcher, with whom she would occasionally exchange pleasantries.

VanMeter said the couple threw “a lot of parties” but heard nothing unusual the morning of the killing.

Shawn Martin, vice president of the neighborhood homeowner's association, said she wasn't aware of any problems that preceded the shooting.

She described the parties at the home Belcher and Perkins shared as “nothing more than any other young couple” would have.

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