By The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher told officers who found him sleeping in his car outside an apartment complex hours before the murder-suicide that he was there to visit a woman whom he described as his “girlfriend,” but that she wasn’t home.
The apartment complex is about 10 miles from the Kansas City home Belcher shared with 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins, the mother of their 3-month-old daughter Zoey. Belcher shot Perkins at their home Saturday morning before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, where he committed suicide in the practice facility’s parking lot, police said.
Police responded to a report about 2:50 a.m. Saturday of a man sleeping in his car outside an apartment building, police spokesman Darin Snapp said Tuesday. When police approached the car, Belcher got out of the vehicle and was cooperative, Snapp said.
“We ask him ‘Why are you sleeping here?’, and he says he’s there to visit his girlfriend, but she’s not home,” Snapp said.
When police determined Belcher didn’t have any outstanding warrants, Snapp said Belcher, 25, made a phone call and a short time later, a woman let Belcher into her building. Police did not question the woman and don’t know who she is, he said.
“When he was sleeping she may have come home, and he didn’t realize,” Snapp said. “He was very cooperative and thanked the officers.”
Snapp said that was the last contact police had with Belcher “until his name came up” with the shooting at his home.
Witnesses have since told police that Belcher stayed at that apartment until 6:30 a.m., Snapp said.
At about 7:50 a.m., police were called to Belcher’s home after he had shot and killed Perkins, whose body was found on the floor of the master bathroom with multiple gunshot wounds, according to a police incident report.
Belcher then drove about five miles to Arrowhead Stadium, where he was met by general manager Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and linebackers coach Gary Gibbs, who Belcher thanked for all they had done for him. When police arrived, Belcher moved behind a vehicle, out of clear view of officers, Snapp said. He said Belcher then knelt down and shot himself once in the head.
Snapp said Belcher also used two separate, legally registered handguns in the shootings.
Friends have said Belcher and Perkins’ relationship was strained. The couple briefly lived apart recently before getting back together by Thanksgiving, friend Brianne York told The Associated Press.
Belcher played college football at the University of Maine, where he repeatedly was the subject of university police reports. A University of Maine spokeswoman provided the reports to the AP.
In April 2006, Belcher punched his fist through a dorm window after becoming upset over a woman, documents said.
And in February 2007, a noise complaint about was lodged after “a discussion outside of his room” between Belcher and a woman. The report says “both stated that she was to contact him by 23:00 hours and did not. He became worried and when she did show up he told her that he did not want to see her until the morning.”
Also Tuesday, police posted a brief audio recording of some of the Saturday morning dispatch traffic. In the 1-minute, 41-second audio compilation, a dispatcher is relaying information about the shooting at Belcher’s home.
In one segment, the dispatcher says a 22-year-old woman had been shot at the Belcher address, “possibly by her son.”
In another segment, the dispatcher says someone is at Arrowhead with an unknown weapon and later that an “unknown party at the (Chiefs) practice field confronted the staff and they don’t know what he’s armed with.”
Snapp said that was the only audio police planned to release regarding the shootings.
Police officials said the NFL team knew Belcher and Perkins were having relationship problems, and the team provided the couple with counseling in an effort to help.
But Chiefs team spokesman Ted Crews said Tuesday he wasn’t aware of what counseling efforts the team may have made for Belcher and Perkins.
Police Sgt. Richard Sharp said 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 encountered Pioli in the parking lot, he reportedly told the club executive that the assistance the team had offered hadn’t fixed the couple’s problems and now “it was too late,” Sharp said.
After Crennel and Gibbs joined Pioli in attempting to talk Belcher from doing any more violence, the player 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.
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 Kansas City Star reported Belcher was upset 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.
Snapp on Monday said Belcher’s mother was given temporary custody of the couple’s daughter.