Case file shows warning signs before Belcher's murder-suicide - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Crennel begged Belcher not to take 'the easy way out'

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The words are black and white but they reveal the pain and chaos experienced by Jovan Belcher's mother, general manager and coaches after he snapped and killed his girlfriend.

Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli took the extraordinary step of summoning coach Romeo Crennel and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs to talk to Belcher even though he knew he was armed.

Crennel himself and witnesses told police about their unsuccessful attempts to persuade Belcher not to kill himself in the parking lot of the practice facility at the Truman Sports Complex.

Cheryl Shepherd, Belcher's mother, was with his daughter inside his kitchen just before 8 a.m. Dec. 1 when she heard Belcher and girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, arguing. She said she didn't interject because Perkins had previously accused her of interfering.

"You won't talk to me that way," Shepherd said she heard her son yell.

And then she heard her son begin firing bullet after bullet into Perkins' body as she was in the bathroom.

Shepherd was hysterical when she called 911 and begged dispatchers to get an ambulance there quickly. She also pleaded with Perkins not to die and she feared her son would commit suicide.

Despite her hysterics, she did have the presence of mind in her initial conversation with police to fear media coverage of her son's actions.

"Shepherd then stated that she did not want the incident released to 'everybody' in the news because Belcher was a football player with the Kansas City Chiefs," according to a police report.

Her son's well being weighed on her mind.

"Shepherd stated that she not been able to reach Belcher by phone and just 'had a feeling' that Belcher was going to kill himself," according to the police report. "Shepherd stated that she heard something on our police radios about somebody armed with a gun at the stadium and wanted to know if it was her son, Belcher. We then turned off our radios and told Shepherd that we did not know what was going on at that location."

The case file released this week by the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office in response to open records requests by various media outlets indicate there may have been troubling warning signs long before the shooting.

The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker legally obtained the .40-caliber handgun he used to riddle his girlfriend's body with 10 bullets at their home located at 5401 Crysler St. while his mother and infant daughter, Zoey Belcher, were inside the home.

He then hastily drove to the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium where he put a different gun to his head and pulled the trigger in front of a horrified Crennel, Pioli and Gibbs, who was also Belcher's position coach.

According to a police report, Belcher, who had thanked the Chiefs leaders for their support, pulled the trigger after he saw officers moving into place.

When Pioli arrived at the practice facility's parking lot, he told police that he saw Belcher already there with a gun pointed at his head. Some reports had indicated that Belcher had called Pioli while he was racing to the stadium.

"I'm sorry Scott," Belcher told Pioli. "I've done a bad thing to my girlfriend already. I want to talk with Gibbs and Romeo... I did it. I hurt her and I killed her."

Pioli called both Belcher and Pioli and asked them to come out.

"Get down here right now, Jovan's got a gun to his head!" Pioli yelled to Crennel.

As he was doing so, Belcher continued to ramble about the help that Pioli had ensured Belcher and Perkins got through counselors and team staff.

"You know that I've been having some major problems at home and with my girlfriend. I need help! I wasn't able to get enough help. I appreciate everything you all have done for me... but it wasn't enough. I have hurt my girl already and I can't go back now."

Pioli desperately tried to get Belcher to put the gun down as others also ran to the scene, including an assistant manager of security. That person's presence apparently agitated Belcher so much that Pioli asked him to leave the area.

An assistant trainer also pleaded with Belcher not to take his own life. "He told (Belcher) that he loved him and he didn't need to do this."

A witness heard Crennel yell to Belcher as he made the sign of the cross and knelt behind his Bentley, "You're taking the easy way out." Belcher then fired a single shot.

Before he did so, he asked Pioli to watch over Zoey, along with Chiefs owner Clark Hunt. He used an expletive and said he had messed up and it's too late.

"Take care of my baby," were among Belcher's last words. "Guys, I have to do this. I got to go. I can't be here. And take care of my daughter."

Police records indicate that Belcher apparently threatened to shoot Perkins months earlier. Perkins gave birth to Zoey on Sept. 11.

Belcher, less than two months ago, told his secret second girlfriend he would shoot the mother of his child if she didn't leave him alone.

According to police, Belcher told the 22-year-old girlfriend that Perkins "knew exactly how to press his buttons and make him angry."

He also said Perkins had "threatened to take all his money and his child if they split up."

Crennel and Belcher's mother also indicated that the couple had been having numerous issues, including financial problems. According to police reports, Belcher, who recently purchased a $200,000 Bentley, thought Perkins was spending more money that the couple did not have.

Crennel also told police that he believed Perkins had hired an attorney in an attempt to get full custody of his daughter.

There is also more insight on why officers did not arrest Belcher when they questioned him hours before the shooting.

Police found Belcher sleeping inside his car outside the second girlfriend's home on Armour Boulevard about 3 a.m. Dec. 1  They said initially he appeared intoxicated, but was instead asleep and disoriented when they woke him.  The report states a police sergeant did not smell alcohol on his breath.

The women who let Belcher into the apartment building and allowed him to sleep on a couch for a brief period of time described him as laughing and joking and showing no signs of anxiety.

The two women told police that Belcher "did not appear to be depressed or angry. He did not make any comments or threats toward a female." Later that afternoon, they heard about a Chiefs player committing suicide and searched the internet for Belcher's picture and recognized him.

The second girlfriend did not hear Belcher's attempts to reach her. She reached out to check on him about 8 a.m., but by then it was too late.

The report also says that Crennel said Belcher told him he missed a team meeting because Perkins didn't come home and left him to watch the baby.

Crennel told police the couple had "trust issues."

The Chiefs organization in recent weeks leading up to the murder-suicide had been providing counseling to Belcher and Perkins, who had been having relationship problems and arguments over money.  Belcher's mother had recently moved from New York to live with them to help them care for Zoey.

The night before the killings, Perkins had attended a concert downtown with friends and Belcher had "partied" at the Power and Light District, police said. Belcher himself was at a club in the Power and Light District with the second woman. They left just before 1 a.m.

What Belcher and Perkins sparred about in their final dispute is unclear. The New York Post reported last week that it was over the paternity of Zoey.

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