December 2, 2012

NFL murder-suicide stuns UMaine community

Jovan Belcher, who is remembered in Maine as a leader, kills his girlfriend and himself in Kansas City.

By Steve Solloway

(Continued from page 1)

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Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli walks on the field before Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., a day after Chiefs linebacker and former UMaine player Jovan Belcher killed himself after fatally shooting his girlfriend.


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UMaine head football coach Jack Cosgrove composes himself as he speaks to members of the media Saturday regarding the announcement of the death of former UMaine player Jovan Belcher, 25, of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot Saturday morning in Kansas City, Mo.

Photo by Michael C. York

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On the field, said Stevens, Belcher was relentless. His energy seemed boundless.

Stevens thought of Belcher getting into his car and driving to Arrowhead Stadium. “I can’t imagine what he was feeling. He understood the reality of what he had done.”

Belcher, Cosgrove said, had told Crennel and Pioli he had done a terrible thing and there was no turning back. Then Belcher walked away and put the gun to his head.

“It’s terrible,” said Chris Treister, a redshirt freshman quarterback from Cape Elizabeth when Belcher was a senior. “I feel terrible. It’s very hard to accept. My thoughts and prayers are with his girlfriend’s family.”

Treister said he doubted there were words to explain how Belcher could have taken a life. He didn’t have that understanding.

Police were called to the stadium around 8:10 a.m., according to the Star. “He had a conversation with Scott Pioli,” Lindaman said. “There was no threat and it was quite friendly, from what I understand. The Chiefs organization had been very supportive of him and he was expressing that.”

Kansas City Mayor Sly James went to Arrowhead and met with Pioli afterward, according to the newspaper.

“Think about your worst nightmare and multiply it by five,” James said.

“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 . It’s unfathomable.”

In a video titled “Belcher’s drive to succeed helps team and self” posted on the Chiefs website Nov. 21, Belcher commented on what he was most thankful for leading into the Thanksgiving holiday: “First and foremost, God. Family and friends just keeping me focused, coaches and just everyone.”

The video was removed Saturday afternoon.

After speaking to the media in Orono, Cosgrove went into the locker room to talk to his team. Some had met Belcher on their campus visits as high school seniors. The university did not permit media contact with the players.

The meeting had gone as well as to be expected, said Cosgrove. Football players try to be brothers to each other. At Maine, players do succeed in forming those lifetime bonds.

“I’ve always felt there was a special glue that sticks to someone who played up here,” said Cosgrove, who struggled at times to keep his composure. “I was told we could release a statement in my name. I didn’t want that. I had to say what today was about in my words.”

A tragedy.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

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Additional Photos

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Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Jovan Belcher (59) gestures at the line of scrimmage during a game against the San Diego Chargers in September. Police say Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend early Saturday in Kansas City, Mo., then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager.

2012 File Photo/The Associated Press

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Brianna York, 21, of Kansas City, Mo., weeps as she speaks about Kasandra Perkins, 22, who was killed by her boyfriend, Jovan Belcher, on Saturday.

David Eulitt/Kansas City Star

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Investigators stand outside an Independence, Mo., house where police say Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend Saturday before driving to the NFL football team's training facility and shooting himself.

The Associated Press

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Friends and relatives of Jovan Belcher drink a toast outside the player's home on Saturday in West Babylon, N.Y.

The Associated Press


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