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McNair’s Death Classified As A Homicide

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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 and twice in the chest, by a semiautomatic pistol, Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said during a news conference.

The woman, Sahel Kazemi, was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head and the pistol was found under her body, Aaron said.

Sahel Kazemi & Steve McNair

Sahel Kazemi & Steve McNair

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

Asked if the deaths could have been 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 three-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.

He was discovered in a seated position on a sofa in the living room; Kazemi was nearby.

Nashville police said Saturday night that they weren’t actively looking for suspects, and also did 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,” said McNair’s agent, Bus Cook.

McNair led the Tennessee Titans within a yard of forcing overtime in the 2000 Super Bowl, which they lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams. He also played two seasons for the Baltimore Ravens before retiring in April 2008.

“I’m still in shock since hearing the news yesterday. I spent all afternoon and night thinking about my life on and off the field with Pops,” Titans quarterback Vince Young said. “Since I was a teenager, he was like a father to me. I hear his advice in my head with everything I do. Life will be very different without him.”

McNair’s rugged style led to numerous injuries and aches. He played with pain for several years, and his old-school ability to endure it made him legend. A common refrain among former teammates and coaches who spoke about McNair following his death was the description of him as a “warrior.”

“Steve and I had a mutually respected friendship. He was one of the great warriors to ever put on a football uniform at any position,” former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon said. “His competitiveness and toughness were unparalleled. He was always a gentleman, and very giving off the field. One of the great people in our league was taken from us way to soon.”

Added former Titans safety Blaine Bishop: “Steve was an absolute warrior as a player and brought that mind-set to the team. Whether he was hurt or not, he was going to give us everything he had. He was the toughest player that I ever played with . . .The thing I will always remember about him was whether it was a good or bad on the field, the whole team — both offense and defense — believed he would lead us to victory if we could just get the ball in his hands at the end of the game.”

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

Friends declined to describe the relationship between McNair and Kazemi, who was a waitress at Dave & Buster’s, a sports bar and entertainment restaurant in Nashville, where the two apparently first met.

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,” the man said.

But a Nashville neighbor saw McNair at Kazemi’s apartment so often — two to three times a week — that she thought McNair had moved in. McNair never tried to hide his presence, but he did keep to himself.

Neighbor Reagan Howard said Kazemi often was dropped off in the early morning hours by a limousine, and recently had upgraded 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 while driving a 2007 Escalade registered to her and McNair. She was arrested on a DUI charges; McNair, who was a passenger in the car, was allowed to leave in a taxi.

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, telling police “she was not drunk, she was high.”

According to The Tennessean, McNair later bailed Kazemi out of jail.

The bodies were discovered Saturday afternoon 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 was the one who alerted authorities.

“It was like something you might imagine seeing on TV or in the movies, but never imagine you would see it firsthand, to have that happen to someone you love. I am still shook up,” Gaddy told The Tennessean.

Cook, McNair’s agent, said he was not aware that his client was seeing Kazemi, a woman whose name he 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. local time 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 likely would travel to Nashville on Monday.

“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.

“People have certain things that they do in life,” Gaddy told The Associated Press. “We don’t need to look on the situation at this time [but] on the fact we just lost a great member of society.”

Sahel Kazemi

Sahel Kazemi

Keith Norfleet

Keith Norfleet


Kazemi’s ex-boyfriend, Keith Norfleet, told The Tennessean newspaper that he and Kazemi had dated for about four years, but broke up five months ago. He said he was concerned about her dating a married man, the newspaper reported.

“She is the sweetest girl, and she did not deserve this,” Norfleet said upon learning of her death. “He was making her believe they were going to be together and everything would be perfect.”

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.

Mechelle McNair & Trenton

Mechelle McNair & Trenton

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

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    Posted 5 years ago at 1:57 pm. Add a comment

    Nashville Media Call Death Of NFL’s McNair Part Of Apparent ‘Murder-Suicide’

    Yesterday, Roland Martin had reported by twitter that former NFL Quarterback Steve McNair had committed suicide.

    The following McNair update was posted on NPR’s blog by Mark Memmott. The article suggest that McNair may have been a victim of a murder suicide. Sounds like Roland Martin who is in the Big Easy for the Essence Festival may have gotten the facts a little twisted.

    Steve Air McNair

    Steve Air McNair


    ]While the Associated Press is only going so far as to say that police are not looking for any suspects, the local newspaper in Nashville is reporting that former NFL star Steve McNair was killed Saturday in an “apparent murder-suicide.”

    The Tennessean says McNair, 36, was found at a condominium he rented with “several gunshot wounds, including one to the head.” A 20-year-old woman, Sahel Kazemi, “was found on the floor near him with a single gunshot wound to her head,” the newspaper adds. “A pistol was found near her body.”

    The Tennessean also writes that McNair, who is married, and Kazemi had been “dating … for months” and that:

    Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said investigators were not actively looking for suspects Saturday night but had not ruled out any scenarios. He stopped short of calling the deaths a murder-suicide, but said the police should be able to classify the deaths today after autopsies and forensic work.

    Sahel Kazemi

    Sahel Kazemi

    At Nashville Public Radio, correspondent Blake Farmer also reports that “Metro Police are investigating what appears to be a murder-suicide involving former NFL quarterback Steve McNair.”

    McNair and Kazemi had been together Thursday when she was arrested on a DUI charge, the AP says. She was reportedly driving a Cadillac Escalade registered to her and McNair, the Tennessean reports. McNair was a passenger in the vehicle at that time.

    The AP recaps the highlights of McNair’s NFL career this way:

    McNair, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, 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. He also played for the Baltimore Ravens before retiring in April 2008.

    His 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.

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      Posted 5 years ago at 8:49 am. Add a comment

      Men Beaten By Philly Cops Acquitted

      Three men beaten by Philadelphia police on the hunt for a police killer were acquitted Wednesday of all charges stemming from their arrests.

      Jurors who watched a 10-minute news videotape (seen above) of the violent arrest said it did not influence their verdict on the attempted murder and other charges related to a triple shooting earlier that night.

      They also found plausible defense lawyers’ arguments that three young black men being pursued by police in May 2008 might have been afraid to stop, knowing they could be mistaken for the fugitive police killer.

      Four of the 18 police officers who were at the scene were fired. Eight others were disciplined or demoted in the wake of the highly publicized beating, which Mayor Michael Nutter called “67 seconds of seeming chaos out on the streets of Philadelphia.”

      The defendants’ relatives wept and slumped in their seats as the forewoman read the verdict. Brian Hall, 24, the lone defendant free on bail, pumped his fists and snaked his way through the crowded courtroom for the door. He declined to answer questions about the case.

      Co-defendants Dwayne Dyches, 26, and Pete Hopkins Jr., 20, spent more than a year in jail while awaiting trial and were to be released later in the day.

      Dyches’ relatives demanded an apology from city officials and said they fear reprisals from police. All three men live in Philadelphia and are considering filing federal civil rights suits. “He’s marked. The cops are going to go after him because some of their fellow officers lost their jobs over it,” said Charles Dyches, 35, a brother.

      Defense lawyers argued that police tried to pin the triple shooting on their clients to justify the mistaken stop and the beating that followed. They said convictions would help in the officers’ efforts to get reinstated.

      “I think the process of them trying to go to arbitration to get their jobs back has been hindered,” said lawyer Mary Maran, who represented Hopkins.

      Dyches’ relatives acknowledge his resemblance to Eric Floyd, who was captured days later and is awaiting trial in the May 3 bank-robbery death of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski.

      The jury deliberated for less than five hours before acquitting the men.

      Assistant District Attorney Carole Meehan Sweeney had asked them not to let the guilty go free because they might find the videotape “disturbing.” The jurors, though, showed, little reaction when the tape was played several times during the weeklong trial.

      Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was attending an event Wednesday afternoon and did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.

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        Posted 5 years ago at 5:09 am. Add a comment