Kansas City Chiefs murder/suicide key may never be unlocked

Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:20pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The murder/suicide committed on Saturday by Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher left the National Football League, its fans and health professionals struggling to understand what drove him to do it.

Belcher, 25, shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his three-month-old daughter, in front of his own mother at home before driving to Arrowhead Stadium where he shot himself dead in the parking lot after thanking team officials for all they had done for him.

For the NFL, arguably the most popular U.S. professional sport, the tragic shootings cast the league in a frightfully brutal light as Belcher became the fourth player this year to die of a self-inflicted gunshot.

Former players Junior Seau in May, Ray Easterling in April and Michael Current in January all committed suicide.

A fifth suicide victim, former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson killed himself by gunshot less than two years ago, leaving a note requesting that his brain be examined for a post-concussive disease that might have led to his severe depression.

An brain analysis showed that Duerson had a degenerative brain disease, as he had believed.

Details on Belcher's health have been slow to emerge.

Dr. Alan Hilfer, Director of Psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, said just why Belcher suddenly snapped could remain a mystery.   Continued...

Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium is seen following an apparent murder-suicide involving Chiefs' linebacker Jovan Belcher in Kansas City Missouri December 1, 2012. REUTERS/Dave Kaup