Former University of Maine football standout and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher reportedly shot and killed his girlfriend, who later died at a nearby hospital, then drove to the Chiefs’ training facility where he shot himself, according to CBS Sports.
According to the report, the first shooting occurred in a Kansas City neighborhood and the second at Arrowhead Stadium at about 8 a.m. Saturday. The training facility has been put on lockdown and is barricaded by local authorities. According to Kansas City sports radio host Danny Parkins, Belcher committed suicide after being confronted with coaches in the stadium parking lot. According to reports, Belcher thanked both head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli before taking his own life. Kansas City Police Department are reporting that the two coaches didn’t feel threatened.
KCPD Capt. David Lindaman said Belcher and his girlfriend got into an argument around 7:50 a.m. Lindaman said Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins several times before she was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Lindaman said Belcher’s mother was visiting the couple and their young daughter.
“This is a real tragedy, a horrible tragedy,” said UMaine football head coach Jack Cosgrove during an impromptu press conference Saturday afternoon in the Memorial Gymnasium. “Jovan was one of those young men that we have such great memories of here. We don’t know at all what took place out there, and I think the tragedy that has fallen — Our prayers go out to Kasandra and her family. We’re going to pray for Jovan; we’re going to pray for Jovan’s family. His impact on this program was boundless.
“It’s a real difficult time for me personally and our football family.”
Cosgrove said the last time he spoke with Belcher was on the phone the day Belcher and Perkins’ child was born, in September of this year.
“I called him on the birth of his child,” he said. “The Jovan that I know from his time in Orono was on the other end of that phone.”
During his time at UMaine, Belcher participated in the domestic-violence awareness group Male Athletes Against Violence initiative and was on the committee that helped develop the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
“I’m hard-pressed to recall a young man who had more of an impact in a positive way in my time here,” Cosgrove said. “He’s one of the great stories in the program’s history. A lot of the things he did [went unnoticed]. He was a member of Big Brothers. He had a young man that he served as a sort of foster-father for during his time here. He graduated in three-and-a-half years, which is a tremendous accomplishment for a student athlete.”
The Chiefs released a statement addressing the events: “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.”
The Chiefs played their regularly scheduled game on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers after Crennel addressed his players Saturday afternoon.
Members of the UMaine community who knew Belcher still can’t comprehend what happened. His former teammate, UMaine alumnus Raibonne Charles told the Kansas City Star that Belcher’s actions weren’t “forthcoming of his character… This is a shock to us all.”
Belcher’s high school football coach, Al Ritacco also couldn’t put the pieces together, describing Belcher to the Detroit Free Press as “a kid I looked up to… If he had a negative side, I never saw it. He was a positive kid — determined to make something [of his life].”
Belcher’s agent, Joe Linta, who is also Crennel’s agent, described the acts as “shocking,” to CBS Sports.
“Something went crazy wrong, and we’ll probably never know what it is,” Linta told the website.
Belcher, who played for the Black Bears from 2005-08, went undrafted in 2009 before signing with the Chiefs. He accrued 198 tackles and one sack in more than three seasons.
Check mainecampus.com for updates throughout the week.