The crowd at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium was asked to observe a moment of silence Sunday afternoon for victims of domestic violence and their families. Just over 24 hours earlier, Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend, then drove to the stadium and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager.
There was no mention of Belcher during the announcement. The Chiefs went on to win the game over the Carolina Panthers 27-21, just their second victory of the season.
Belcher, a fourth-year player from West Babylon, New York who played college ball at Maine, shot 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins at their Kansas City residence Saturday morning, then drove to the nearby Chiefs practice facility where general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel were in the parking lot. He thanked them for all they had done for him, then shot himself in the head.
Police said Belcher and his girlfriend had been arguing recently. They were parents of a 3-month-old girl. Belcher's mother recently had moved in with the couple, possibly to help with the baby. She called police just before 8 a.m. to report Perkins had been shot multiple times. Perkins was taken to a hospital where she died a short time later.
Pioli walked through the press box before the game and said he was doing "okay," though he didn't stop to talk. Crennel was on the sideline coaching his team.
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt offered sympathy to the families affected by the murder-suicide, calling it "an incredibly difficult 24 hours for our family."
Hunt said the Chiefs consulted with the league about whether to play the game as scheduled, but ultimately left it up to Crennel and the team captains to decide. Hunt said Pioli called him from the parking lot immediately after the shooting and said that Sunday's game would be "incredibly difficult for them."