Police Rule McNair's Death A Homicide


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By TERESA M. WALKER, Associated Press Writer Teresa M. Walker, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 34 mins ago
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Former NFL quarterback Steve McNair's shooting death was a homicide, police said Sunday, but authorities stopped short of saying it was a murder-suicide committed by the 20-year-old girlfriend found dead by his side.

McNair, 36, was shot four times, twice in the head, by a semiautomatic pistol, Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said. The woman, Sahel Kazemi, was killed by a single gunshot wound and the pistol was found under her body, Aaron said.

Aaron said the two had been in a "dating relationship for past several months."

Asked if the deaths could have caused by a lover's quarrel, Aaron said, "That's a very important part of the investigation as we work to ultimately classify Miss Kazemi's death."

Police said they need to do more interviews with friends of Kazemi and McNair before they rule on whether her death was a suicide, Aaron said.

McNair, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, was married with four children. He and Kazemi were found dead Saturday afternoon at a Nashville condominium he shared with a friend, and police said Sunday that it appears the two died in the early morning.

Police earlier said they weren't looking for any suspects and do not believe McNair's wife was involved. Mechelle McNair, mother of two of his four sons, was expected to collect her husband's belongings from authorities. Funeral arrangements were not expected to be finalized until Monday afternoon at the earliest.

"She's still very upset, very distraught," agent Bus Cook said.

McNair led the famous Tennessee Titans' drive that came a yard short of forcing overtime in the 2000 Super Bowl, before the Titans traded him to the Baltimore Ravens in 2006. "On the field, there isn't a player that was as tough as him," the Ravens' Derrick Mason said.

McNair retired last year and had recently opened a restaurant in Nashville, where he shared a condo with a friend.

A man who answered the door at a house in the Jacksonville, Fla., suburb of Orange Park said it was the home of Kazemi's family, but said her relatives did not want to comment.

"We don't have anything to say, please leave us alone," he said.

A Nashville neighbor saw McNair, 36, at Kazemi's Nashville apartment so often — two to three times a week — that she thought McNair had moved in. McNair never tried to hide his presence but kept to himself.

Neighbor Reagan Howard said Kazemi often was dropped off in the early morning hours by a limousine and upgraded recently from her Kia to a Cadillac Escalade.

"It was pretty obvious that she was taken with him," Howard said.

McNair and Kazemi had been together just two days earlier, when she was pulled over driving a 2007 Escalade registered to her and McNair. She was arrested on a DUI charges, and he was allowed to leave in a taxi.

The bodies were discovered by McNair's longtime friend, Wayne Neeley, who rents the condo in the upscale Rutledge Hill neighborhood with McNair.

Neeley then called Robert Gaddy, who had been friends with McNair since they played at Alcorn State. Gaddy alerted authorities.

"People have certain things that they do in life," Gaddy told The Associated Press on Sunday. "We don't need to look on the situation at this time (but) on the fact we just lost a great member of society."

Cook said he was not aware that McNair was seeing Kazemi, a woman whose name the agent learned about through reports of the shooting.

"It doesn't make any sense. I don't know what to say," Cook said.

Police said a witness saw McNair arrive at the condo between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Saturday and that Kazemi's vehicle was already there. The condominium is located within walking distance of an area filled with restaurants and nightspots, a few blocks from the Cumberland River and within view of the Titans' stadium.

Fred McNair, Steve McNair's oldest brother, said some family members would likely travel to Nashville on Monday to consult with Mechelle.

"It's still kind of hard to believe," Fred McNair said. "He was the greatest person in the world. He gave back to the community. He loved kids and he wanted to be a role model to kids."

McNair and his wife split their time between Nashville and their farm in Mount Olive, Miss., according to a statement from the Titans.

An arrest affidavit from Thursday said Kazemi had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on her breath when she was pulled over, but refused a breathalyzer test, saying "she was not drunk, she was high."

McNair and his family frequented the restaurant where Kazemi was a waitress, according to employees and patrons of Dave & Buster's in Nashville.

"She was reliable 90 percent of the time," manager Chris Truelove said of Kazemi. "She was pretty outgoing. A lot of the guests liked being around her, and she liked being around the guests."

Co-worker Shantez Jobe, 33, said she was friends with Kazemi.

"We talked about who had more fashion sense, and who was the cutest, and who could get more boys, you know some of the stuff girls do," Jobe said.

In June, McNair opened a restaurant near the Tennessee State University campus. It was closed Saturday evening, but had become a small memorial, where flowers, candles and notes had been placed outside the door.

McNair led the Titans to the 2000 Super Bowl, which they lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams. He was co-MVP of the NFL with Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in 2003.

Manning said in a statement Sunday that he had some great battles with the quarterback.

"Sharing the NFL MVP honor with him in 2003 was special because of what a great football player he was," Manning said. "I had the opportunity to play in a couple of Pro Bowls with him, and the time spent with him in Hawaii I'll never forget. I'll truly miss him. My condolences go out to his family."

McNair's most notable moment came in the 2000 Super Bowl. With the Titans trailing by seven, he led the team 87 yards in the final minute and 48 seconds, only to come up a yard short of a touchdown. Kevin Dyson caught his 9-yard pass, but was tackled at the 1-yard line by the Rams' Mike Jones.

McNair accounted for all of Tennessee's yards in that drive, throwing for 48 yards and rushing for 14. The rest of the yardage came on penalties against the Rams. Before that, he brought the Titans back from a 16-0 deficit to tie the game.

"If you were going to draw a football player, the physical part, the mental part, everything about being a professional, he is your guy," former Ravens and Titans teammate Samari Rolle said. "I can't even wrap my arms around it."

McNair grew up in rural Mount Olive, Miss., and became a nationally known college football star playing for Alcorn State, a Division I-AA school in his home state. He was so dominant in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, he became a Heisman Trophy contender. National media flocked to little Lorman in the southwest corner of the Magnolia state to get a look at "Air McNair." He still holds the Division I-AA (now known as Football Championship Subdivision) records for career yards passing (14,496) and total offense (16,823).

McNair was the third overall draft pick in 1995 by the Houston Oilers, who eventually became the Titans. He finished his career with 31,304 yards passing and 174 touchdowns. McNair's rugged style led to numerous injuries and aches. He played with pain for several years, and the injuries ultimately forced him to retire.

During a five-game stretch at the end of the 2002 season, McNair was so bruised he couldn't practice. But he started all five games and won them, leading the Titans to an 11-5 record and a berth in the AFC championship game for the second time in four seasons.

McNair played all 16 games in 2006, his first season in Baltimore, and guided the Ravens to a 13-3 record. But he injured his groin during the season opener in 2007 and never regained the form that put him in those Pro Bowls.

McNair is survived by Mechelle, his wife of nearly 12 years; and sons Junior, Steven, Tyler and Trenton.


Associated Press writers contributing to this report include: Ron Word in Jacksonville, Fla., Travis Loller, Lucas L. Johnson II and Kristin M. Hall in Nashville and Emily Wagster Pettus in Mount Olive, Miss.

Wait a minute, just becasue he was shot twice in the head and twice in the body doesn't automatically mean that it wasn't and accident or even suicide. Thye should discuss this with Bill and Hillary. Some of their acquaintences committed suicide y shooting themselves in the back of the head. What other evidence do the police have for jumping to such a rash conclusion.
He was shot multiple times and she was shot once in the head with the gun found underneath her. Sounds like a murder suicide to me. That's what I've heard so far.
He was shot multiple times and she was shot once in the head with the gun found underneath her. Sounds like a murder suicide to me. That's what I've heard so far.

that's what I'm thinking.. now waiting for further words on it.
As expected, the Anti's are out in force on this traedy. Actually, this is insulting..
Steve McNair's famous face becomes just another victim of American gun culture.

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Monday, July 6th 2009, 4:00 AM
Steve McNair put up Pro Bowl numbers during his illustrious career but became just another statistic of nation's troubling gun violence.

Link Removed, dead by gun now in Link Removed, came out of Link Removed, Miss., whose population still came up short of 1,000 when McNair made it to the Super Bowl with the Link Removed in January 2000.
When I called the town hall that year, I asked the woman who answered the phone how long downtown was in Mount Olive.
"Eight blocks," she said. "Ten if you stretch it."
When I asked her about the biggest intersection in town, she said that the biggest intersection wasn't even in town.
"Biggest intersection in Mount Olive," she said, "is where [State Road] 35 meets [U.S.] 49."
But McNair made it out of there to become a Link Removed candidate, even from a small school like Link Removed; made it from there to the Titans, and eventually to the Link Removed' 1-yard line at the end of a Super Bowl game in Atlanta. McNair took his team down the field when it had a chance to upset the Rams and threw a ball to Link Removed and Dyson ended up a yard short as time ran out, ended up a yard short of being a Super Bowl champion the way McNair did.
He was still as tough as anybody who ever played quarterback in the Link Removed, famous for playing hurt, sitting out practices for months at a time just so he could play on Sunday. Finally, there was the Super Sunday when he nearly became one of those quarterbacks to take his team all the way down the field at the end, the way Link Removed did one time for the Link Removed.
McNair's life and his career were all about the possibilities of sports and the country. He showed everybody that you could come from Mount Olive and a small college and if you had the talent and character and even heart, you had the same equal opportunities as anybody else.
Now McNair dies the way he dies and shows you that a gun in the wrong hand is still the greatest equalizer of all.
He came from the Friday night lights of Link Removed Field to being the kind of football star and sports celebrity he became in Nashville. Now he dies in a Nashville condominium with a 20-year-old woman not his wife, multiple gunshot wounds, one to the head, the young woman dead there next to him.
The gun was found next to the woman, Link Removed. Where did the gun come from? Where it always comes from: Somewhere.
Once I asked one of McNair's high school coaches, a man named Link Removed, what the next biggest thing was to happen in Mount Olive after Steve McNair and the man said, "Nothin'."
He bought a big spread for his mother there, a 600-acre ranch, made millions playing pro football, even if he had to quit younger than a lot of other quarterbacks because he was just too beat up, like a fighter who took too many punches. Even after he stopped playing he was a big guy in Nashville. This weekend he was famous again, this time as a crime statistic, homicide victim, dead by gun.
This was a spectacular weekend for sports, in tennis especially. Sunday, Link Removed and Link Removed played one of the great matches of all time at Wimbledon, with Federer winning 16-14 in the fifth set. The day before, Link Removed and Link Removed had played against each other in another Wimbledon final, Serena winning this time.
The Williams sisters came to another moment like this from public courts in Compton, Calif. Six years ago, their oldest sister, Yetunde, was shot dead while sitting in a white SUV on Greenleaf Blvd. in Compton. The Williams sisters have always shown that even in a white, country-club sport like tennis, anything is possible. They are as famous around the world as McNair was in football and it did nothing to save their sister when bullets started flying one night in Compton.
This time they started flying on Second Ave. in Nashville. According to the Link Removed newspaper, McNair had a permit to carry a handgun. The weapon found next to the bodies was a semiautomatic.
There were so many wonderful statistics attached to McNair's career, the most important being the one Super Bowl, the four Pro Bowls to which he was selected, all the games he won. But the last was the only one that mattered. He is the 36th homicide victim in Nashville this year. That is down from 41 at the same time last year.
Only in a country of gun lovers is that considered progress.

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Not so sorry for him anymore

The more I learn about this man - his "real" life, not the NFL stage show - the less and less sorry I feel for him.

I feel awful for his wife of 12 years and his 4 kids.

Multiple DUI arrests since 2003, one of which included possession of 9mm pistol - yet each and every time charges were eventually dropped, because he's some kind of 'superhero.'

No. Superheroes and positive role models love their wives AND their four kids, IMHO.

The sister of the 20 yr old likely shooter said McNair was to be getting a divorce and marrying this sister/shooter. I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but I'd wager that "lie" coming out into daylight is probably what got him shot by a pissed off and foolish 20 yr old. He was just having an affair, but she was all "in love."

We all reap what and how we sow. It's sad an unfortunate this guy had to steal a family's husband and father away for some younger tail.
AZSATT, I agree 100%. FOX just said that the gun belonged to the girlfriend, she bought it and it's now considered murder suicide.
Feds arrest felon in sale of gun in McNair killing | Comcast.net

One thing that stood out to me is this U.S. Attourney Edward Yarbrough's statement that "one of the top objectives of federal gun laws prohibiting felons from possessing guns is 'to thwart and prevent violent crime such as the two deaths in this case.'"

Funny, it does not seem to have had that effect now does it? Does Yarbrough realize that he has just acknowledged that gun laws don't prevent violent crime?

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