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Jovan Belcher of Kansas City Chiefs dead in suspected murder-suicide

Jovan Belcher of Kansas City Chiefs dead in suspected murder-suicide
Police say Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs fatally shot his girlfriend early Saturday in Kansas City, Mo., then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide.
(Bill Wippert / Associated Press)

Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs shot and killed his girlfriend, then drove to the team’s practice facility and killed himself in front of team officials, police said Saturday.

Police confirmed to the Kansas City Star the player was Belcher, 25, one of the team’s starting linebackers and a four-year veteran of the NFL.

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PHOTOS: Jovan Belcher’s NFL career

In a briefing outside of Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City Police Department spokesman Darin Snapp said the player shot his girlfriend “several times” at about 7:50 a.m. local time Saturday. The victim’s mother was there and reported the shooting.

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By the time police arrived, Belcher was gone. Twenty minutes later, police were called to Arrowhead Stadium’s practice facility. Belcher was outside of the facility’s front doors with a gun to his head. According to the Associated Press, Chiefs Coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Scott Pioli were there at the time and were talking to Belcher.

The player shot himself just as police arrived.

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Snapp said Belcher and his girlfriend had been arguing recently, but offered no further details.

The area where Belcher shot himself was locked down briefly but has since reopened.

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The Chiefs coaches called a team meeting for later in the day, Snapp said.

NFL executives and players took to Twitter after the incident.

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Said NFL Players Assn. Assistant Executive Director George Atallah: “There is nothing profound or comforting to say that can help us understand or explain a situation like this. We have been in touch with players. At a time like this, we can only come together as a family and a community.”

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey tweeted: “Very sad day in the NFL FAMILY. My prayers go out [to] the Chiefs and families involved.”

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Louis Murphy Jr., a wide receiver with the Carolina Panthers, tweeted: “Thoughts and prayers go out to the Kansas City Chiefs players and family.”

The Chiefs  are scheduled to play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The NFL told the Panthers to continue traveling to Kansas City for Sunday’s game, the Charlotte Observer reported.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

twitter.com/josephserna

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