Perkins remembered as solid student, counselor
Colleague, former teacher grieve over the loss of the Anderson graduate.
Kasandra Michelle Perkins and Jovan Belcher seemed like an ideal couple with so much to live for.
That is the opinion of Jason Garcia, who worked with Perkins at the Turner-Roberts Recreation Center in Austin and befriended Belcher in 2011.
“When I first met (Belcher), I remember thinking he was this huge guy, but very respectful,” Garcia said Monday at Anderson High School. “In my mind, he didn’t seem to be a big-headed, just someone who was very nice. Maybe it was because he came from the University of Maine.”
That’s why news that Belcher, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, fatally shot Perkins on Saturday and then killed himself “came as a total shock to me,” said Garcia, a substitute teacher for the Austin Independent School District. “I didn’t cry, but I felt empty inside, got goosebumps. It felt like, boom!”
Perkins was a 2009 Anderson graduate. On Monday, school Principal Donna Houser recalled her as a “nice girl with braces who smiled all the time.” Perkins played softball one year at Anderson and took a dance class.
“When I spoke to Kasandra’s teachers today, they were all devastated,” Houser said.
Perkins and Belcher were introduced in 2010 by Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, a former Texas Longhorn. Charles’ wife, Whitney, was Perkins’ first cousin.
The Charleses released this statement Monday: “Our family has suffered a personal tragic loss. As this is a very tough time for our family, I ask that we are respected as we grieve. Kasandra was not only family, but a friend and a loving mother. As my actual family and my Kansas City Chiefs family have been altered forever, we ask that you keep us and most importantly their child in prayer.”
Perkins was a good student during her four years at Anderson, school counselor Dorothy Salas said.
After graduation, she took a job at Turner-Roberts, spending most of her time with kids, said Garcia, a program specialist at the recreation center. When Perkins moved to Kansas City to be with Belcher, Garcia kept up with both on Facebook.
“When she worked here, she was always playing board games with little kids,” Garcia said.
The Perkins family released a statement Monday: “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.”