A number of people have already stated that they had no idea of why Jovan Belcher, the linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and then went to the Arrowhead practice facility and after talking to some of the team officials, shot himself in the head. Frank Rivezzo, his former defensive coordinator from West Babylon spoke of the tragedy, “I never got any vibes about something like this.”
Belcher’s agent, Joe Linta, also commented, “Something went crazy wrong, and we’ll probably never know what it is,” and Linta also explained that he never thought Belcher was capable of such violence.
With these kind of comments, many are asking at the moment how Belcher could have murdered his girlfriend and then shot himself moments later, after all, Belcher was also a loving and devoted father, a compassionate boyfriend, and a very motivated athlete.
There are clearly many things we will never know about Belcher, especially his life in the run up to this tragedy. But many of the reasons being offered as to why people are so baffled do not contradict these acts of violence in any way. Many victims of homicide have been assaulted or murdered by their loved ones, especially during temporary rages brought on by jealously or other perceived threats to the relationship. The nature of the killing seems to reflect the actions of a reactively aggressive person; the result of a sudden rage expressed by shooting his girlfriend numerous times. This, at least on the surface, does not reflect a pre-meditated assault.
Those who knew Belcher have also said that he was very compassionate and very emotional, and it also seems that he was very eager to please, especially his family. But again, this also suggests why he could have snapped. It seems that he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders and felt that he had a lot to live up to. Therefore, any serious confrontation with a loved one that could jeopardize his performance or threaten his perception of himself could lead to a violent outburst. Still, this is mere speculation.
After Belcher shot his girlfriend he was no doubt confronted by the onset of tremendous guilt and remorse. Not only had he shot the love of his life, but his three-month old daughter was now without a mother and her father was now facing a life behind bars. Belcher was suddenly aware of how his life and the life of his loved ones was about to change. His life as an NFL player had also come to an abrupt end, and he clearly felt like he had unforgivably let down his team. Belcher was then convinced that he did not want to face this new future, and he chose apologizing to his coaches as his last act.
Whatever the reasons for Belcher’s murder and subsequent suicide, it is important to remember that he did murder his girlfriend and left his daughter without parents, which is why those eulogizing his life need to remain sensitive.