Nationals

Families grieve in wake of Belcher murder-suicide

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Families grieve in wake of Belcher murder-suicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Breaking their silence for the first time, the family of the woman shot and killed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher said Monday their ``hearts are truly broken'' and asked for privacy while they grieve the loss of two loved ones.

Belcher shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, at their Kansas City home Saturday before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, where Belcher committed suicide in the practice facility's parking lot, police said. The couple had a 3-month-old daughter, Zoey.

``Our hearts are truly broken for Kasi was a beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, mother, cousin and friend,'' the family said in an emailed statement. The family also asked that the media ``respect our privacy during this difficult time.''

``Please keep us in your hearts and prayers as well as the Belcher family,'' the statement said.

Kansas City police Sgt. Marisa Barnes said Monday that authorities hope to deliver an investigative report to prosecutors on Tuesday.

``They're moving it along just like any other case. There's a formal process it has to go through,'' she said.

Dan Ferguson, a spokesman for Jackson County, said the medical examiner's office has completed examinations on the bodies of both Belcher and Perkins. A full autopsy report would not be available for six to eight weeks, he said.

In an incident report released Monday, police said officers were called to the Kansas City home of Belcher, 25, and Perkins about 7:50 a.m. Saturday. Police found Perkins on the floor of the master bathroom. The report said she died from apparent gunshot wounds, but did not say how many times she had been shot.

Belcher then drove about five miles to Arrowhead Stadium. There, he was met by general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel, and Belcher thanked them for all they'd done for him.

The police report said that when officers arrived at Arrowhead about 8 a.m., they saw several people in the practice facility parking lot.

``As they approached, a subject later identified as Jovan Belcher, observed their presence and moved to an area behind a vehicle,'' the report said. ``From that position Belcher shot himself one time in the head.'' Belcher was taken to a hospital, where he died, the report said.

Barnes said Monday that firearms found at the couple's home were legally registered to Belcher. It is unknown how many guns were found.

``The majority of people own them, you know, especially in the places that they're legal,'' Chiefs linebacker Brandon Siler said. ``People don't go out and shoot other people. Most of the time they're for self-defense or sport. Yeah, people own guns, but did you ever hear him say anything about harming someone with a gun? No.''

Chiefs defensive tackle Shaun Smith bristled when asked about a ``gun culture'' in professional sports, and said players that carry them usually do so for protection.

``Just because we're in the NFL, that doesn't make us no different,'' he said. ``You never know when someone would try to rob you or whatever. ... I've worked hard to get where I am. I'll be damned if I'd let someone just take it away from me, period.''

Police spokesman Darin Snapp said Monday that Belcher's mother, who had been staying with the couple, was given temporary custody of the couple's daughter. But, he said, it was unclear Monday if the grandmother and baby were still in the Kansas City area or if they had returned to Belcher's home in West Babylon, N.Y. Perkins was from the Austin, Texas, area.

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and his wife, Whitney, also released a statement Monday asking for privacy. In it, the Charles' confirmed that Perkins and Whitney Charles were cousins, and that Perkins was a ``not only family, but a friend and a loving mother.''

``As my actual family and my Kansas City Chiefs family have been altered forever, we ask that you keep us and most importantly their child in prayer,'' the Charles' statement said.

Brianne York, 21, a friend of Perkins, said Sunday that Perkins met Belcher through Whitney Charles.

Belcher's relatives also provided statements Monday, as several relatives gathered outside of Belcher's boyhood home, looking somber and sad. Yamiesse Lawrence, a cousin of Belcher's, said the weekend's events were an ``inconceivable tragedy.''

``As a family, no words can express the sorrow we feel over the loss of Jovan and Kasandra,'' Lawrence read aloud.

She said the family is ``overwhelmed with both sadness and confusion,'' and extends thoughts and prayers to the Perkins family.

Belcher's niece, Quaresha Boston, said the football player ``embraced life and excelled at all he put his energy behind'' and that God alone could ``mend our hearts.''

``We loved Jovan. His kindness, humility, respect and gratitude for family and friends were steadfast,'' she said. ``... He was happy to be a new father and both he and Kasandra loved Zoey greatly.''

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AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., and AP Writer Frank Eltman in West Babylon, N.Y., contributed to this report.

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Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Salivating and awe came first. Distribution will have to wait.

The Nationals revealed their jewel-laden championship ring during a slow-moving, hour-long telecast Sunday night which was originally supposed to include select players receiving their rings. After pushback from the players -- who wanted to receive the rings together when it was safe to do so -- the night was converted to more of a reveal than reaction.

The ring itself included several nods to the D.C. area, markers from the championship season, and specific personalizations.

Here’s a blow-by-blow:

-- The ring is 14-karat white and yellow gold

-- The “W” logo is made from 30 rubies to represent the 30 runs the team scored in the four World Series game

-- Around the logo are 58 pavé-set diamonds

-- Above and below the logo or the words “World Champions” set over the ring via 32 sapphires. This number represents the sum total of the team’s 2019 walk-off wins (7), shutout wins (13), longest winning streak (8 games), and playoff rounds won (4).

-- An additional 108 diamonds are featured along the ring top, representing the number of regular season and postseason wins (105), plus one diamond for the World Series title and two diamonds for the locations -- Washington and Montreal -- of the franchise.

-- The top and bottom of the ring have 12 rubies to represent the total number of postseason wins

-- On the left side in yellow gold is the player’s name

-- Beneath the name is a flag, the Capitol Building and the Roman numerals MMVI to represent the year the Lerner family purchased the franchise

-- The player’s number is in diamonds on the bottom left side

-- “Fight Finished” is on the right side

-- The interior of the ring is engraved with a shark symbol holding a yellow gold trophy. So, yes, a nod to “Baby Shark” has made it onto the rings

-- Also on the interior are the team logos of each opponent the Nationals defeated in the postseason

-- “Go 1-0 every day” is also engraved inside

-- In total, the average championship ring contains 170 total diamonds, 32 custom-cut sapphires, 31 custom-cut rubies, and 24 princess-cut rubies for a precious total stone carat weight of 23.2 carats.

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The lead up of the ring reveal included congratulatory messages from a slew of people associated with the Nationals in the present and past.

Former closer Chad Cordero and catcher Brian Schneider started the video messages. Denard Span and Adam LaRoche followed. Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, former Redskins player Brian Mitchell, chef José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci were among several others to send congratulations.

In a post-reveal show, the players emphasized they were looking forward to receiving the rings in a group.

“I think the only thing better than seeing it is going to be wearing it,” Howie Kendrick said.

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Max Scherzer: Nationals players opening rings together will be ‘final piece to our championship’

Max Scherzer: Nationals players opening rings together will be ‘final piece to our championship’

One year to the day after the Nationals began their climb out of the depths of a 19-31 start on their way to winning the World Series, the team unveiled its championship ring design.

Introduced in a virtual ring ceremony hosted by a conglomerate of Nationals officials and media members, the rings captured many significant images and phrases from the Nationals’ historic season such as “Go 1-0 Today” and Baby Shark.

A few players were originally set to receive their rings during the virtual ceremony before the rest of the team, but the Nationals released a statement Saturday saying that “the players collectively decided they would prefer to receive their rings when the team could be physically reunited.”

Instead, the entire team watched on with the rest of baseball fans as the design was introduced. After the presentation ended, several players went on a Zoom call with MASN’s Dan Kolko to discuss their thoughts on the new bling.

“It’s cool to see in person but I think I’ll be with Davey [Martinez] when I can actually put that thing on,” Nationals starter Max Scherzer said. “I think all of us, when we’re all together, when we can have that moment together, that’s the final piece to our championship and that’ll be an emotional moment.”

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As part of the presentation, the Nationals invited fans to support their #NATS4GOOD community response fund that assists those who’ve been directly affected by the coronavirus outbreak,

“I’m with Max, I think it’ll be cool for us all to get it together,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “I think with the situation that we’re in, obviously nothing is normal right now so to give the fans a look at this and at the same time raise some money…it’s the least we can do.”

The fate of the 2020 season has yet to be determined, so there’s no firm date for when the Nationals will receive their rings. But for World Series hero Howie Kendrick, the well-earned piece of jewelry waiting for him will be more than worth it.

“I think the only thing better than seeing it is going to be wearing it,” Kendrick said.

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