Tragedy and Trauma Hit Belcher's Innocent Daughter the Hardest

4798An infant girl wakes up without parents, both dead, dad killing mom and then turning the gun on himself. There are no answers. None that make sense, anyway.
Jovan Belcher, the Chiefs' linebacker, shot longtime girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, drove to the team's practice facility, thanked general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel for all they've done for him, then killed himself.

The Chiefs will never be the same after a murder-suicide unprecedented in the NFL.

More importantly, neither will two families and a baby girl now orphaned.

What Belcher did on Saturday made him first a criminal, then a coward. The world now knows him as a monster. What Belcher did on Saturday leaves a trail of people who loved him scarred for the rest of their lives, wondering if they ever really knew the man.

"I can tell you that you have absolutely no idea of what it's like to see somebody kill themselves," said Kansas City mayor Sly James, who spoke with Pioli. "If you can take your worst nightmare and then put somebody you know and love into that situation and give them a gun and stand three feet away from them and watch them kill themselves, that's what it's like."

At noon CST on Sunday at Arrowhead, some twenty-eight hours after living that nightmare, Crennel will coach the Chiefs in a game against the Carolina Panthers that was already meaningless for a 1-10 team going nowhere. Now, it becomes a story about a coaching staff and players dealing with unthinkable tragedy the only way they know.

James said the trauma felt by Pioli and Crennel would be like your worst nightmare, and if that's true, imagine what it's like for that baby girl and the rest of these families. Belcher's mother was in the house when gunshots blasted, and called the police.

Two families, each tragically broken, must now try to make sense of senseless. A quiet man's personal demons won out, leaving two who once loved each other dead.

Crennel and Pioli have been consumed with football this fall, each fighting a dismal season that may cost them their jobs.

Now, these shadows will never fully leave them. On Saturday, they watched a man they know and respect put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.

Nobody can say why Belcher did it. He was a good man, friends said. Respected as a teammate. Took football seriously. Majored in child development and family relations at the University of Maine, made the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent, played every game since his rookie year.

But the Chiefs will have to be careful how they publicly remember a murderer.

Those of us left to grapple with what's occurred should hug our children a little tighter today. Be more considerate of our spouses. And confront the cold reality that dysfunction gone unchecked can ruin lives.

According to medical studies, around 600 murder-suicide events take place each year in the United States, resulting in 1,000 to 1,500 deaths. Most of those don't generate this much attention. As far as anyone can remember, this is the first such incident involving an athlete in America's most popular sport.

Source: Kansas City Star | SAM MELLINGER
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