Orioles

Families grieve in wake of Belcher murder-suicide

201212031404506904486-p2.jpeg

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.''

---

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

Quick Links

Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

Baltimore Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias is dedicated to altering the direction of the organization and that was reciprocated Friday with the firing of 11 members of the scouting and front office departments.  

"We're in a period of change right now with the industry and we're in a period of change right now with the Orioles," Elias said. "Sometimes to make changes you've got to make changes."

Among those relieved were baseball operations director Tripp Norton, scouts Dean Albany, Jim Howard, John Gillette, Nathan Showalter, and Buck Showalter. 

Elias acknowledged the uphill battle ahead of filling numerous voids but insists it's just a part of the job 

"We're going to be very busy bringing people into this organization," he said. "This is just the organization moving along and adapting to the sport today."

Just one day removed from a judge confirming that the Orioles owe the Nationals nearly $300 million, Elias insisted this move isn't to save money.

"There are changes going on in the scouting business in terms of greater availability of information in general, video and data," Elias said. "There are instances where we will replace people's roles kind of man for man, head for head, spot for spot, but there's other instances where we're reconfiguring the way the scouts go about their business."

The O's will look completely different from this point out and players won't be the only changes.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Sleep-deprived Nationals win one they probably shouldn’t have in Chicago behind Aníbal Sánchez

Sleep-deprived Nationals win one they probably shouldn’t have in Chicago behind Aníbal Sánchez

The clubhouse wears have never been packed so quickly. Washington was sprinting as a group to get out of Pittsburgh on Thursday night following another three-hour-plus game with a 1:20 p.m. local start looming in Wrigley Field on Friday.

Max Scherzer finished his postgame comments in less than four minutes, then quickly moved to get cleaned up and join the others. Most lockers were vacant by the time media members reached the clubhouse, which wasn’t long after the game ended. 

Despite the scramble for minutes saved, Friday was supposed to be a loss. Las Vegas knew. The players and management knew. It was a bad spot. Night game, onto a plane, then a day game against a team which played at home the previous afternoon, and was 44-19 there -- the second-best home record in the National League. 

And yet, Nationals 9, Cubs 3, and it wasn’t that close.

Some bloops fell, some situations turned out lucky. Though, Aníbal Sánchez dominated. No voodoo or charms were involved.

He went through 8 ⅓ innings before being removed after 112 pitches. He was provided a shot to finish the game -- just 15 National League pitchers have a complete game this season -- but couldn’t. A rare Anthony Rendon throwing error cost him an out, then his opportunity for a solo close to the afternoon in Chicago.

Sánchez threw 31 four-seam fastballs, 31 cutters and 28 “splitters” among his 112 pitches. He worked as a marionettist, pulling strings to change positions and outcomes throughout the day. Matt Grace finished the game. No high-end reliever was used, resetting a bullpen which had to cover five innings in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The offense beat up Jon Lester. He didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. Everyone in the lineup -- including Sánchez -- picked up a hit. Trea Turner’s single extended his on-base streak to 30 games.

Sánchez’s work piggybacked on what the other starters did against woeful Pittsburgh. Nationals starters have allowed two earned runs in the first five games of this seven-game road trip. The offense has averaged 8.2 runs in that span. It’s hard to fathom they lost once with both sides operating in such fashion.

All of this is just a continuation of a massive turnaround. Washington is 52-26 since its nadir May 24. Only the Dodgers -- who host the Yankees on Friday night -- have a better record in that span, and by just a half-game. They have won 10 of 12 and 13 of 17. Fivethirtyeight.com now gives the Nationals a 90 percent chance to make the postseason (this includes the wild-card game).

Wins like Friday emphatically move that needle. The Cubs are trying to wind their way into the postseason. They were also set up for a clear advantage thanks to the schedule. Instead, Sánchez, throwing as slow as 68 mph and as fast as 91, controlled the day, the offense rolled through the afternoon and everyone was ready for bed after a surprise win.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: