Belcher Tragedy is Domestic Violence Issue

By: Melissa Toupin

As teammates, friends and family mourn the loss of Kansas City Chief line backer Jovan Belcher, many are puzzled by what would drive him to kill his girlfriend, the mother of his 3 month old daughter, just before taking his own life.

It was an unspeakable tragedy. The NFL player fatally shot his girlfriend early Saturday morning, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium, a place he accomplished so much as a player. He thanked his coaches for all they'd done for him, and then before their shocked eyes, he killed himself.

“This is a horrible loss of life and we need to focus on the fact that it's another victim of domestic violence,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

DeBare says as many as 4 victims of domestic violence are killed by their partners each day.

“People look on the outside and it looks perfectly fine and behind closed doors it's a whole different scenario,” said DeBare.

After Sundays game, which the Chief's won, questions continued to swirl about what set off belcher.

“If they're not totally honest with you about their issues or their problems then you cannot give them the correct help,” said Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel.

“Domestic violence doesn't just spontaneously pop up over night. There are always warning signs,” said DeBare.

The couple shared a home with their 3 month old daughter, and argued about a concert girlfriend, 22–year–old Kasandra Perkins, attended Friday night in the hours before the shooting. Perkins' friend says while they occasionally fought, they always got back together.

“The last time that they had a little fight she left for a few days but she didn't like move out. She just took a little space. But she was never planning to just leave,” said Brianne York.

DeBare would like to see the NFL rally behind the issue of domestic violence. Currently the Players Association does take part in training camps addressing domestic and sexual violence prevention.

RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence Help line (800) 494–8100.