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Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend and then committed suicide at the team facility Saturday morning as team personnel tried to stop him.
Belcher, 25, shot his 22-year-old girlfriend, identified as Kasandra Perkins, at their house and then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself, according to police.
Belcher shot himself in front of head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli, a spokesperson for the Kansas City Police said.
There were no other injuries at the team facility.
"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. 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," Chiefs president and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement.
"We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities and work to ensure that the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of the organization."
Most Chiefs players were stunned by the tragedy, either having nothing or very little to say in response.
However, Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hall expressed his thoughts in a tweet: "I am devastated by this mornings events. I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to everyone effected by this tragedy."
Belcher's suicide comes less than seven months after the death of former NFL great Junior Seau, who shot himself in the chest May 3 at his suburban San Diego home. Seau's brain was donated to science by his family to learn whether brain injuries sustained during his career may have led to his suicide. A report on the findings has not been released as yet.
Former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson also committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest in February 2011. Results of a post-mortem examination three months after Duerson's death found that he had suffered brain damage, most likely due to his football career. Duerson had complained about his mental health condition in the months leading up to his death in his Miami condominium.
According to media reports, Belcher suffered only one head injury during his career, in mid-November 2009, but he returned to play four days later. That also occurred before the NFL implemented significant changes to its concussion protocol last season.
Kansas City police received their first call about a shooting at Belcher's home just before 8 a.m. CT.
According to police spokesman Capt. David Lindaman, Belcher and Perkins got into an argument around 7 a.m. CT at their home about five miles from the Chiefs' practice facility. Belcher shot his girlfriend multiple times about 7:50 a.m. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Belcher's mother, who was visiting the couple and their 3-month-old daughter, witnessed the shooting and was being interviewed by police, according to Lindaman.
At approximately 8:10 a.m., according to police, a call from Arrowhead Stadium security to police came in reporting a man in the stadium parking lot was armed with a gun. Belcher had been met by team personnel in the parking lot. Crennel and Pioli confronted Belcher before he turned the gun on himself, which police observed upon arrival at the scene.
Police spokesman Darin Snapp said they received a call from a woman who said her daughter was shot several times.
"We can confirm that there was an incident at Arrowhead earlier this morning," the Chiefs said in a statement. "We are cooperating with authorities in their investigation."
The name of Belcher's girlfriend was not identified but there is a Walmart baby registry for Kasandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher, which includes pictures of them with the baby on Facebook with the caption, "Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours," according to Deadspin.
The Kansas City Chiefs host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium at 1 p.m. ET. The Charlotte Observer reported that the NFL informed the Panthers to leave on its team charter plane as scheduled Saturday.
The Observer reported that NFL officials have not decided if the game will still be played but told the Panthers to travel as scheduled. The team's flight was scheduled to leave Charlotte at 1:15 p.m. ET.
Chiefs players were asked to meet at the team facility, according to Fox Sports.
Belcher started 10 of 11 games at inside linebacker for the Chiefs this season and was in his third season as a fulltime starter, fourth overall in the NFL.