KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CBS/AP) — A 25-year-old Kansas City Chiefs player fatally shot his girlfriend early Saturday, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs play, and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager, police said.
Police spokesman Darin Snapp said the player killed his girlfriend and then went to the team practice facility, where he shot himself.
Several reports identified the player as LB Jovan Belcher, including a report by CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora.
Before turning the gun on himself, Belcher thanked Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel for all they had done for him, Snapp said.
Pioli and Crennel are both former New England Patriots’ staffers.
Belcher, 25, was a football standout at the University of Maine, where he graduated from in 2008.
Snapp described the girlfriend as in her early 20s and that she and Belcher had a child together. He said the woman’s mother told police they had recently been arguing.
Authorities received a call Saturday morning from a woman who said her daughter had been shot multiple times at a residence about five miles away from the Arrowhead complex.
“When we arrived, a lady informed us that her daughter had been shot multiple times by her boyfriend, by the daughter’s boyfriend,” Snapp said. “She identified him as a Chiefs player.”
Snapp said a call was then received from the Chiefs’ facility.
“The description matched the suspect description from that other address. We kind of knew what we were dealing with,” he said. The player was “holding a gun to his head” as he stood in front of the front doors of the practice facility.
“And there were Pioli and Crennel and another coach or employee was standing outside and appeared to be talking to him. It appeared they were talking to the suspect,” Snapp said. “The suspect began to walk in the opposite direction of the coaches and the officers and that’s when they heard the gunshot. It appears he took his own life.”
The coaches told police they never felt in any danger, Snapp said.
“They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they’d done for him,” he said. “They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything. That’s when he walked away and shot himself.”
Arrowhead Stadium was on lockdown for a short time after the shooting.
“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.”
Kansas City is scheduled to host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The league has informed the Panthers to travel as scheduled because the game is going on as scheduled.
The season has been a massive disappointment for the Chiefs, who were expected to contend for the AFC West title.
They’re just 1-10 and mired in an eight-game losing streak that has been marked by devastating injuries and fan upheaval, with constant calls the past few weeks for Pioli and Crennel to be fired. Things have been so bad this season that Crennel fired himself as defensive coordinator.
The Chiefs have been ravaged by injuries, led the league in turnovers, can’t settle on a quarterback and are dealing with a full-fledged fan rebellion. The Twitter account for a fan group known as “Save Our Chiefs” recently surpassed 80,000 followers, about 17,000 more than the announced crowd at a recent game.
Associated Press Writer Heather Hollingsworth contributed to this report.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)