The days since Jovan Belcher killed his 22-year-old girlfriend then shot himself in the head have been very difficult for his mother, who said Wednesday that the slayings have not diminished her love for the couple.
Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, had been living with her son and 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins to help care for their 3-month-old daughter, Zoey, and was at the couple's Kansas City home Saturday morning when Perkins was shot.
"That's my son, and I love him," Shepherd said in a brief telephone conversation Wednesday. "She's my daughter-in-law, just like my daughter."
Shepherd declined to say anything more about her son.
Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot Perkins at their home then drove with a handgun to Arrowhead Stadium, where he thanked Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for all they had done for him. The men tried to persuade Belcher to put the gun down, but when police arrived, Belcher moved behind a vehicle, knelt down and shot himself in the head, police said.
Shepherd, 54, said she was not happy about the release Wednesday of recordings of the emergency phone call she made Saturday after Perkins was shot.
"I just got a phone call that they did that, and I don't appreciate it," she said. "Right now I don't want to talk about it."
In the emergency call, Shepherd begs Perkins to "stay with me" while frantically asking for an ambulance. She tells the dispatcher that Perkins is "still breathing but please hurry. ... They were arguing, please hurry."
Shepherd also told dispatchers that Perkins was bleeding, "just barely" awake and that it looked as though she was wounded in the back. She said Perkins moved when she spoke to her.
When a police dispatcher asked about Belcher, Shepherd says only: "He left."
When police arrived at the couple's home at about 7:50 a.m., they said in an incident report that they found Perkins' body on the floor of the master bathroom with multiple gunshot wounds.
Shepherd, who has temporary custody of the couple's baby, said she and Perkins were very close.
"She was a lovely, beautiful young woman. And we had a beautiful relationship," Shepherd said.
Shepherd said her family has been helping her a great deal since the shootings, but that she has had trouble eating and sleeping as she works on her son's funeral arrangements.
"Right now I'm working on everything," she said.
A person familiar with the arrangements says a memorial service for Belcher is planned for Wednesday afternoon.
The team moved up its practice schedule Wednesday so players could attend a 2 p.m. memorial service for Belcher at the Landmark International Deliverance and Worship Center in Kansas City.
The memorial service is not open to the public. Other details of the service aren't known.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
730 North Summit Street