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Yesterday afternoon Jovan Belcher, 25, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs killed his 22-year-old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins after shooting her multiple times. Belcher then drove to the Kansas City Chiefs football facility, put a gun to his head, and shot himself in front of the team's general manager and coach -- after thanking them for giving him a chance in the NFL.
It's always sad, confusing, horrifying, and senseless when something like this happens and all we have are more questions than answers, but there's an even bigger tragedy here:
Belcher and Perkins had a baby daughter together in September. That 3-month-old girl is now an orphan.
The baby is in the care of Belcher's mother, who is said to have witnessed the shooting of Perkins and called 911. Fortunately, the baby -- Zoey Michelle Belcher -- was in another room during the shooting. But what will happen to her next?
Of course she has has a loving family who will all likely clamor to care for her. After all, she's all that both Belcher's mom and Perkin's mother have left of their own children. But what will her legacy be? Her dad shot and killed her mom -- and then himself. Zoey will grow up having so many questions. And it's unlikely that anyone can ever give her an answer that could ever truly satisfy.
Ironically, Belcher had joined Male Athletes Against Violence. As part of the organization, he had to sign a pledge promising to "look honestly at my actions in regards to violence and make changes, if necessary," and as a college student at the University of Maine, he majored in child development and family relations.
Today, and in upcoming days, as we all try to make sense of this terrible tragedy, Jovan Belcher will get most of the press, he's the famous one, the football player, the trigger man. And while he was no doubt in some kind of agony, let us remember the mothers and daughters at the heart of this tragedy: Kasandra Perkins, her baby daughter Zoey, Becky Gonzalez (Perkins' mom), and Cheryl Shepherd (Belcher's mom).