Was Steve McNair murdered?
On the Fourth of July, the stunning news of the death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair broke, though few details were known.
Since that time, it has become clear that McNair was murdered, and that the body of the woman found next to him is that of his suspected murderer — a 20 year old waitress who purchased the gun that led to McNair’s death. Though Sahel Kazemi, the woman in question, seems guilty, we can only report that she is a suspect.
Steve McNair was found with multiple fatal gun shots, including one bullet in the head, and a pistol was eventually discovered near the body of the young Kazemi. The two were found dead last Saturday in a Nashville condominium. Nashville police were quick to identify the woman, whom sources are calling a “friend” of McNair’s. She had a single gunshot wound to the head. The implication of multiple gun shots to McNair’s body and just one to Kazemi’s (a blast to her head made at close range) is that she commmited a classic murder/suicide.
Police state that the 36 year old McNair was found on the sofa in the living room, and Kazemi was very close to him on the floor. Confusingly, police said that the gun near Kazemi’s body was not “readily apparent” when police first arrived. Autopsies have been completed for both bodies, and the results are trickling out a bit at a time.
Fred McNair, who is Steve McNair’s oldest brother, said a few close family members travelled to Nashville this past Monday to talk with Steve McNair’s wife. McNair purchased a car for Kazemi and placed it in his name, and was also arrested in her presence just a day before the shooting, leading many to believe that McNair and Kazemi were engaged in an adulterous affair.
Fred McNair said he did not know who Kazemi was and never heard her name before.
The bodies of both McNair and Kazemi were discovered last Saturday afternoon by McNair’s longtime friend and one time college football teammate Wayne Neeley, who said he rents the condo with McNair. Another strange detail — why would McNair rent a condo when he lives with his wife?
The police have realeased Neeley’s statement — in his report, Neeley told law enforcement authorities that he went into the condo, saw McNair on the sofa and Kazemi on the floor but “walked first into the kitchen before going back into the living room”, when he first saw the blood. Rather than call 911 himself, Neeley “called a friend”, who then called the police.
According to police, a witness in the neighborhood reports seeing McNair arrive at the condo between 1:30 and 2 in the morning on Saturday and that the vehicle belonging to Kazemi was already in the parking lot. Just a day before, a Nashville police officer arrested Kazemi on a DUI charge while she was driving a 2007 Escalade registered to both her and Steve McNair. McNair was in the front passenger seat, but because he wasn’t driving or breaking the law in any other way, he was allowed to leave the scene by taxi cab.
What do you do when your alleged mistress has just been arrested for DUI in a vehicle you bought for her? Naturally, you bail her out of jail. Neeley said McNair told him he was “seeing Kazemi”, and that the two met while Kazemi was working as a waitress at popular restaurant Dave & Busters.
Steve McNair played 13 solid seasons in the NFL and led the otherwise feckless Tennessee Titans to within one yard of forcing an overtime in the 2000 Super Bowl. McNair, who led a hall of fame career most of those 13 seasons, couldn’t get the job done at that Super Bowl game, and the Titants lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams. He also played a season for the Baltimore Ravens before retiring from the game in April 2008.
Shaheed Rahman, a friend of McNair’s and a man who sometimes worked as McNair’s driver, spoke to Steve McNair just two weeks ago. He said the former quarterback, a future hall of famer, was “in good spirits” and loved living in Nashville.
Four time Pro Bowler Steven McNair will likely be remembered for his good actions off the field as well as his skill on it. McNair was a charitable man who often participated in community activities. Personally, I will never be able to forget the image of McNair and teammates loading sandbags for delivery to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of today’s tragic news regarding the death of Steve McNair. He was a player who I admired a great deal,” said New England Patriots senior football adviser Floyd Reese, who was the General Manager of the Titans when McNair played there. “He was a tremendous leader and an absolute warrior. He felt like it was his responsibility to lead by working hard every day, no matter what.”
McNair was only thirty-six years old.