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Over the weekend, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins and then himself in what police describe as a murder-suicide.
Sadly, the fatal act of domestic violence may not have been entirely unpredictable. Perkins' friends and family describe the relationship between the two as "strained," especially after the birth of their daughter, reports NBC News.
The night before Perkins was killed, she was reportedly out late at a concert with some friends. Belcher apparently had a problem with Perkins being out late while their 3-month-old baby was at home. But instead of peacefully resolving this seemingly common couple's argument, Belcher is said to have shot Perkins nine times while his own mother was in the house, according to Sports Illustrated.
After allegedly shooting and killing Perkins, the 25-year-old linebacker drove to Arrowhead Stadium where he committed suicide in front of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.
Some speculate the couple's rocky relationship may have been due to Belcher's busy schedule as well as the troubles that a young couple goes through when they become parents.
As authorities continue to investigate the murder, we will be left to speculate if the killings could have been avoided. NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas even took to national television to partially blame the killing on gun-control laws, the Los Angeles Times reports.
That issue aside, a victim of domestic abuse typically has a few viable avenues to protect herself when a fight escalates or a relationship becomes violent. For example, if Belcher had exhibited signs of violence in the past, Perkins could have sought a temporary restraining order against him. And if the threat of violence was more immediate, a potential victim could have called 911 and requested police assistance.
Of course, all of these courses of action are predicated on the fact that the victim has some time to act before domestic violence occurs. It's not clear if Perkins had such an opportunity to protect herself.