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“And there were Pioli and Crennel and another coach or employee was standing outside and appeared to be talking to him. It appeared they were talking to the suspect,” Snapp said. “The suspect began to walk in the opposite direction of the coaches and the officers and that’s when they heard the gunshot. It appears he took his own life.”

The coaches told police they never felt in any danger, Snapp said.

“They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they’d done for him,” he said. “They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything. That’s when he walked away and shot himself.”

Snapp described the girlfriend as in her early 20s and that she and the player had a child together. He said Belcher’s mother told police they had recently been arguing.

Belcher is the latest among several players and NFL retirees to die from self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the past couple of years. The death of the beloved star Junior Seau, who shot himself in the chest in at his California home in May, sent shockwaves around the league.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said that he spoke to Pioli after the incident, and while he refused to discuss the GM’s emotional state, the mayor said Pioli was “extremely concerned that fans of this team are not disappointed and not left in the cold.”

“I think they think there’s an obligation to the people of this city, the fans of the team and the fans of the other team to play the game,” James said.

The season has been a massive disappointment for the Chiefs, who were expected to contend for the AFC West title. They’re just 1-10 and mired in an eight-game losing streak marked by injuries, poor play and fan upheaval, with calls for Pioli and Crennel to be fired.

The Twitter account for a fan group known as “Save Our Chiefs” recently surpassed 80,000 followers, about 17,000 more than the announced crowd at a recent game.

“The Oakland Raiders are empathizing with the Chiefs organization,” the Chiefs‘ AFC West rivals said in a statement. “Our hearts are wounded by such an unimaginable tragedy in our NFL family.”

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Associated Press Writer Heather Hollingsworth contributed to this report.

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL