Pro Football: McNair’s death ruled a homicide
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó 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.
“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.
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 ó two to three times a week ó 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.
“People have certain things that they do in life,” McNair’s friend and former Alcorn State teammate Robert 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.