Perkins re­mem­bered as solid stu­dent, coun­selor

Col­league, former teacher grieve over the loss of the An­der­son grad­u­ate.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - By rick Cantu rcantu@states­man.com Con­tact Rick Cantu at 4453953. Twit­ter: @Rick­yprep U.S. Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion’s ath­lete of the year, for­ward Alex Mor­gan, scored 28 goals in 2012. PAUL CON­NORS / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.”

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