Source recounts events leading up to Belcher tragedy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Investigators believe stress from their relationship, financial problems and alcohol factored into the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide, a Kansas City, Mo., police source said Tuesday.
Belcher, a West Babylon, N.Y., native and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, knelt down, kissed his slain girlfriend on the forehead, and said, "I'm sorry," police said, referring to an account given by Belcher's mom, who encountered the couple in the master bedroom Saturday morning after hearing gunshots.
Then, Belcher gave a goodbye kiss to the three-month-old daughter he had with Kasandra Perkins, apologized to his mom, and drove his Bentley to Arrowhead Stadium, where he told Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and other team officials "I killed her" before fatally shooting himself in the head, a Kansas City Police Department spokesman said Tuesday.
The latest revelations about the Saturday morning murder-suicide come as police confirmed the Chiefs provided couples counseling to Belcher, 25, and Perkins, 22. Police said Belcher told Crennel and other team officials "I have to do this" before kneeling behind a vehicle, crossing himself — and firing the shot that ended his life.
On Monday, police investigators said they had talked to witnesses who said Belcher was seen at several bars in the trendy Power and Light District on Friday night, and appeared intoxicated hours before the shootings, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation said.
On Tuesday, a police official told Newsday that a 911 call was received around 2:50 a.m. CST on Saturday from a caller who reported a suspicious car with a man inside on the 700 block of East Armour Boulevard.
Responding officers found Belcher asleep in his new $122,000 Bentley — and asked him to step out and show them identification, which police said he did.
The officers said Belcher was intoxicated, according to Kansas City police spokesman Darrin Sapp.
"They said they could tell he'd been drinking," Sapp said.
Police said Belcher told officers he was waiting for his "girlfriend" — not Perkins, but another woman — who lives in the building.
Police told Belcher to call the woman and said he did.
Someone then let Belcher into the building, police said.
In an earlier account, Brianna Donovan, who lives about three miles from the downtown district, said she saw Belcher on the third floor of the building knocking "very hard" on a neighbor's door between 2 and 3 a.m. Saturday.
She said he was "drunk, obviously drunk" and, when she confronted him, he told her he was trying to get into the apartment of her neighbor, whom he knew by name.
He told her they had become separated while out in the district and that he was supposed to stay there, she said.
Two of her neighbors came out into the hallway and agreed to let him stay in their apartment, she said, "because he couldn't go anywhere" in his condition. "He said he needed to sleep," Donovan said.
She said he asked to be awakened up around 6:30 for football practice.
Police said Belcher later returned to the home he shared with Perkins, who had been out at a concert the night before, and shot her to death.
Police said that before Belcher committed suicide in the parking lot outside the team's practice facility at Arrowhead Stadium, team officials tried to talk with him.
On a 911 call, an officer at the stadium said: "I've got two coaches and one other employee here trying to make with this guy. . . . I've got at least four guys standing there trying to negotiate with him. I haven't made contact."
But just after 8 a.m. Saturday, Belcher "moved to an area behind a vehicle. From that position, Belcher shot himself," the report said. The linebacker was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Autopsy reports on Belcher and Perkins won't be ready for another six to eight weeks, officials said.
Police found Perkins' body at 7:52 a.m. at their home, the report said. Officers saw her on the floor of the master bathroom, with apparent gunshot wounds, according to the report.
A paramedic at the murder scene said, in his 911 call, that he was "with an early 20s female. She's been shot about three or four times, one in the chest, one in the neck and one in the abdomen. All went through." She was later pronounced dead, the report said.
Sapp confirmed Monday that two handguns were used by Belcher, both legally registered to him.
Belcher purchased one of the guns in 2010 and a second in 2011, Sapp said. He purchased both at a Kansas City outdoors store. Both were legally registered in his name.
A friend of Perkins, Lauren Hall, said Belcher and Perkins sometimes practiced at a local shooting range. "They enjoyed it," Hall said. "They both liked to shoot. He helped her learn."
The reports were released as relatives of Belcher and Perkins on Monday broke their silence. Speaking from the front porch of the West Babylon home where he grew up, near a makeshift memorial, a cousin and a niece of the player read a statement.
Yamiesse Lawrence, 31, Belcher's cousin, said, "The impact that this inconceivable tragedy has had on our hearts is immeasurable; we are overwhelmed with both sadness and confusion."
Quaresha Boston, 19, Belcher's niece, said: "We loved Jovan. His kindness, humility, respect and gratitude for family and friends were steadfast. The man we knew and loved for over 25 years embraced life and excelled at all he put his energy behind."
She added: "Jovan was overjoyed when Kasandra gave birth to their daughter, Zoey. He was happy to be a new father, and both he and Kasandra loved Zoey greatly."
In a statement, the Perkins family asked for privacy "as we grieve for our loved one" and said they appreciated "the outpouring of love and support."
"Please keep us in your hearts and prayers as well as the Belcher family," the statement said.
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and his wife, Whitney, also released a statement confirming that Perkins and Whitney Charles are cousins.
"As my actual family and my Kansas City Chief family have been altered forever, we ask that you keep us and, most importantly, their child in prayer," the statement said.
Kansas City police said they would finish their investigation and turn it over to the Jackson County district attorney.
Also Monday, the University of Maine released a 2006 incident report that said, as a student, Belcher had cut his wrist and thumb punching a dormitory window after being "upset over a girl."