It began like any other Saturday for the Kansas City Chiefs during the NFL season, their general manager and coach at work early to put final touches on this weekend’s game plan. Then they got a call to hurry to the parking lot.
The two men rushed through the glass doors of Chiefs headquarters and came face-to-face with linebacker Jovan Belcher, holding a handgun to his head.
Belcher had apparently already killed his girlfriend and sped the short distance to Arrowhead Stadium and past a security checkpoint guarding the entrance. Upon finding his bosses, Belcher thanked general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for giving him a chance in the NFL. Then he turned away and pulled the trigger.
The two deaths shocked a franchise that has been dealing with controversies now made trivial by comparison: eight consecutive losses, numerous injuries, fan discontent and the prospect that Pioli and Crennel could be fired at season’s end.
Authorities did not release a possible motive while piecing together the case, other than to note that Belcher and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, had been arguing frequently.
The two left behind a 3-month-old girl. She was being cared for by family.
The Chiefs issued a statement that said their home game this afternoon against the Carolina Panthers would go on as scheduled, even as the franchise tried to come to grips with the dreadful reality of Belcher’s death.
“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.
The 25-year-old Belcher, from West Babylon, N.Y., played college football at Maine. He signed with the Chiefs in 2009 as an undrafted free agent, eventually moving into the starting lineup. He played in all 11 games this season.
The Vikings ruled wide receiver Percy Harvin out of today’s game at Green Bay because of a sprained left ankle. … Giants safety Kenny Phillips is listed as doubtful for Monday night’s pivotal NFC East game against the Redskins with a knee injury.