Jovan Belcher's family, and the family of the girlfriend who he killed at the weekend, have spoken out for the first time since the tragic incident that saw the Kansas City Chiefs' player kill Kasandra Perkins before taking his own life in front of horrified staff.
The Perkins family has released its first pubic statement about the death of their daughter, and used the opportunity to ask people to pray for the family of Jovan Belcher as well as them.
Many have commended the Perkins family for their strength and compassion towards Belcher's family, with many suggesting they had every right to be angry and hate the family of the man who took their daughter's life.
The Perkins family also asked for privacy as they learn to deal with their loss, and try to cope with how to help be part of the life of their three month old baby granddaughter. It's been reported that Belcher's mother will raise three-month-old daughter Zoey in the Long Island town where he grew up.
The Perkins family statement said, "On behalf of the Perkins Family, we appreciate the outpouring of love and concern for our Kasandra 'Kasi' Perkins. Our hearts are truly broken for Kasi was a beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, mother, cousin and friend. At this time we request the media respect our privacy during this difficult time as we grieve for our loved one. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers as well as the Belcher family for two lives were lost. Again we thank you for your support, our wish is for Kasi to be remembered for the love she shared with us all. Kasi will be truly missed!"
The Perkins family have said that the news about the murder-suicide came as an "utter shock" to them, and as far as they knew the couple were extremely happy, according to TMZ.
Belcher's aunt Mary Kimble, joined by his uncle and sister, read a prepared statement as well, stating:
"As a family, no words can express the loss we feel of Jovan and Kasandra. The impact that this inconceivable tragedy has had on our hearts is immeasurable. Jovan was our son, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, grandson and friend and we will miss him and Kasandra daily. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Perkins family as well as they mourn. We love Jovan. His kindness, humility, respect and gratitude for family and friends was steadfast.
"Jovan was overjoyed when Kasandra gave birth to their daughter. He was happy to be a new father and both he and Kasandra loved her dearly. The outpouring of sympathy and support from Jovan's friends, teammates, coaches and fans have been a reflection of the impact he had on so many people.
"Like them, we will cherish the wonderful memories we have of Jovan and pray that those memories will bring us peace as we grapple to understand the unpredictable and tragic ending of his life and the life of Kasandra Perkins."