Belcher’s suicide and the alleged murder came after an argument with Perkins, the Kansas City Star reported Saturday afternoon.
Hours after the deaths, Belcher’s teammates were wondering how a quiet, overachieving player who went from undrafted free agent to a fixture in the starting lineup could carry through with such acts.
“That’s what hurts you the most,” Chiefs defensive lineman Shaun Smith said in a telephone interview late Saturday afternoon. “That a guy like that would do that.”
Smith, who played with Belcher throughout 2010 and rejoined the team in early November, said Belcher had never displayed signs of anger or a violent temper and hadn’t spoken about problems between him and Perkins. The couple had dated for years and had a 3-month-old daughter.
Smith described Belcher as a happy, playful teammate who was never afraid to snipe back at the gregarious Smith. In fact, Smith said, the teammates walked off the practice field together Friday, with Smith ribbing Belcher about how little he had played a week earlier against the Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning. The Chiefs had played mostly in a nickel defense, leaving Belcher on the bench, and Smith, normally a backup, on the field.
“You know, just having fun,” Smith said.
Belcher, a starting inside linebacker the past four seasons, and Perkins reportedly had attended a concert Friday night and argued afterward, continuing the disagreement into Saturday morning. Lindaman told reporters that Belcher shot Perkins around 7:50 a.m., with Perkins’s mother witnessing it. Perkins was pronounced dead later at a hospital. Belcher then went to the team facility, where Chiefs officials tried talking the player out of additional acts of violence.
A police spokesman told Kansas City media that Belcher hadn’t threatened team officials; rather, he thanked Crennel and Pioli.
“The entire Chiefs family is deeply saddened by today’s events,” team chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement, “and our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy, thoughts and prayers for the families and friends affected by this unthinkable tragedy.”
Many of Belcher’s teammates turned to Twitter to express sadness and disbelief.
“Devastated,” tight end Tony Moeaki wrote.
“Forever in our heart!” free safety Kendrick Lewis posted.
The Chiefs are scheduled to play the Carolina Panthers at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, and Crennel is expected to coach his team a little more than 24 hours after witnessing a player’s suicide.