Relatives of the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker who shot and killed his girlfriend before killing himself said outside his Long Island home Monday that they're having difficulty dealing with the "inconceivable tragedy."
Police say Jovan Belcher killed 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins at their Kansas City home Saturday before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, where he committed suicide in the practice facility's parking lot.
One of Belcher's cousins, Yamiesse Lawrence, read a statement outside Belcher's boyhood home in West Babylon, N.Y., on Monday, saying words can't express the sorrow the family feels.
Lawrence said the family is "overwhelmed with both sadness and confusion," and extends thoughts and prayers to the Perkins family.
Belcher's niece, Quaresha Boston, said the football player "embraced life and excelled at all he put his energy behind" and that God alone could "mend our hearts."
Cheryl Shepherd, Belcher's mother, is reportedly bringing back the couple's 3-month-old baby to raise her on Long Island after she was left orphaned following the shootings Saturday.
"She just lost a son. We're all coming together," Eric Oakes, a cousin of Belcher, told the New York Post.
The Perkins family issued an emailed statement Monday saying they've appreciated the "outpouring of love and support" and asked for privacy "during this difficult time." The family also asked that people keep the Belcher family in their prayers.
As investigators search for a motive to help explain the violence, a discordant picture of the couple began to emerge.
Belcher and Perkins had lived apart briefly earlier in the year but had gotten back together by Thanksgiving, according to a friend of Perkins.
Brianne York, 21, said Sunday the couple argued about "normal couple stuff" but that her friend was "really happy about being a mom."
When she learned Saturday that Belcher had fatally shot Perkins at the couples' home, York said, she thought someone must have been mistaken.
Afterward, Belcher drove about five miles to Arrowhead Stadium, where he thanked general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for all they'd done for him. Belcher then fatally shot himself in the practice facility's parking lot, police said.
York, who met Perkins while taking classes at the Blue River campus of Metropolitan Community College, said the women bonded during their pregnancies. York has a baby boy who was born months before Perkins gave birth to Zoey.
"It doesn't seem that that would be the end of their story," York said. "It just seems like if things didn't work out, they would have gone their separate ways. I would never have thought that this would be how it ended."
Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp reiterated Sunday that the couple had argued recently but he could provide no additional details.