UPDATED 4:54 p.m. — Nashville police have now confirmed Steve McNair’s death was indeed a murder. More at The Tennessean including: “A Sunday morning autopsy revealed that McNair was shot four times – twice in the head, twice in the chest. His girlfriend, 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi, died of a gunshot wound to the side of the head. A semi-automatic pistol was found on the floor under her body.
But it will take many days of interviews with their families and friends and witnesses who saw McNair out on the town Friday night before police will rule whether the deaths were a murder-suicide or a double homicide.
“While it is clear McNair’s death is a homicide, the police department is not classifying Kazemi’s death, pending further investigation and interviews with persons who knew her and McNair,” police spokesman Don Aaron said at press conference this afternoon.
“We can’t be close-minded,” Aaron said. “All scenarios are on the table.”
The autopsy showed the two had died in the early hours of Saturday morning, hours before their bodies were discovered by a friend of McNair’s who had a key to the Second Avenue condominium.
Police are still waiting for the results of ballistics tests that could indicate whether Kazemi’s wound was self-inflicted. Toxicology tests will take weeks.”
Rumors are swirling wildly around the deaths and Aaron attempted to answer, or shoot down, the most common. The initial autopsy did not indicate that Kazemi was pregnant. Both victims were found fully clothed. It is not yet known who owns the pistol that was found at the scene. Steve McNair is listed in a state database as having a permit to carry a handgun.”
Kazemi, who was pulled over last Thursday and charged with drunk driving while McNair was in the passenger seat of the Escalade they co-owned, has no other criminal record in Davidson County, Aaron said. Police are conducting interviews with their friends, hoping to piece together their relationship.
“We’ve already begun talking to their friends to ascertain any squabbles they were having, were they upset with each other and if so, why,” Aaron said.
McNair was the 36th homicide victim in Nashville this year.
UPDATED 3:24 p.m. — Overnight, the internet became a feeding frenzy with speculation from various media outlets in Nashville with all sorts of “sources” and “rumors” about the tragic death of former Ravens quarterback Steve McNair. Most are speculating that it was a “murder-suicide” but clearly, this story will be taking on a life of its own in the coming hours and days in light of the autopsy and homocide investigation.
It’s a horrendous Sunday on many levels for the McNair family, the Titans, the fans of the NFL and McNair’s many friends, teammates and associates. At the bottom of this post and to the right in wnsTV you can see that Steve McNair enjoyed being with fans. He was extremely gracious with the hundreds of Ravens fans he came to meet at Limelight six months ago on the night before the Ravens-Titans game.
The initial media reports have all of the signs of sensationalism, sex, violence, fame and intrigue that surely will launch a sea of stories, sources and leaking of information. Some of it will be “bad” info and some will be accurate.
Below, I’ve simply linked out to to a variety of the best and most reliable reports and have aggregated the information. These are NOT WNST.net “sources.” They are simply links and information as media outlets in Tennessee are reporting them and in a “timeline” fashion over the past 24 hours.
UPDATED Sunday 3:24 p.m.: Kazemi’s sister: “She would never kill anyone, ever” …
More from The Tennessean: The sister of Sahel Kazemi says she was a young woman who wanted to have fun and couldn’t have hurt anyone – not herself, nor anyone else.
Kazemi was actually the aunt of Sepideh Salmani, but they were raised as sisters. Salmani’s mother adopted her when she was 9, after Kazemi’s mother was killed in their native Iran. Salmani talked to her sister every day, and said she was very happy in her relationship with Steve McNair.
She doesn’t believe her sister killed McNair, or herself.
“She was one, young girl who had so many dreams that they never came true,” Salmani said. “She would never kill anyone, ever. Or anything. Not even a little bug. I want people to know that.”
An autopsy has been ongoing this morning. A press conference is scheduled this afternoon to discuss the findings.
Metro police have said that McNair was found sitting on the sofa, shot several times. Kazemi was lying on the floor with a single gunshot to the head and a pistol near her body.
UPDATED 11:08 p.m. — The Tennessean reports the girl’s name and many key new news items: Former Titans quarterback Steve McNair was killed in an apparent murder-suicide with a young woman he met at a local restaurant and have been dating for at least a few months.
McNair, the hometown hero who did extensive charity work in Nashville, died of several gunshots and was found on the sofa, police said. Sahel Kazemi, 20, was found alongside him in a Second Avenue condo he rented. She had a single gunshot wound to her head; a pistol was found near her body.
Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said they were leaning toward certain scenarios based on the evidence, but they hadn’t ruled anything out. Still, they were not actively looking for suspects Saturday night.
“The medical examiner will be conducting autopsies (Sunday),” Aaron said. “We expect to make additional conclusions after the autopsy process.”
Though much of the attention was on the Second Avenue crime scene, police also swarmed at the Cherry Creek apartment complex in Hermitage. They were questioning neighbors who said they often saw McNair visiting Kazemi. Sometimes, neighbors said, she would arrive home in a limousine in the early morning hours. She showed up with a new black car she said was a gift from her boyfriend.
She was arrested in that car, a black Cadillac Escalade registered to she and McNair, just two days before the deaths. She was charged with driving under the influence and refusing to take a breath test.
Keith Norfleet, Kazemi’s boyfriend for four years before they broke up five months ago, said he came to pick up the car for Kazemi.
Norfleet said McNair was in the car with her when the stop occurred, a fact that was not in the police affadavit but was confirmed by police Saturday night. McNair later bailed Kazemi out, according to bail bondsmen.
Norfleet said she told him she was seeing McNair, who she met while working as a waitress at Dave & Busters. He was worried about her dating a married man and hopeful they’d get back together. They had been living together for four years, since they moved from her family’s home in Jacksonville, Fla., to Nashville.
“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.” Though they were broken up, Norfleet said they’d been speaking a lot recently and she planned to break it off with McNair. He said she banged on her door early Saturday morning, but he didn’t get there fast enough.
“She was a very strong, independent girl. A hard worker,” Norfleet said. “I mean, she had a huge heart. She was very caring, very loving.”
UPDATED 10:28 p.m. — Here’s the raciest report on the web, this one from NashvillePost.com: The pair died of apparent gunshots wounds and were found in a condominium at 2nd and Lea Avenues in Rutledge Hill. The woman, sources say, was approximately 20 years of age.
While Metro Police has reported that details are sketchy, NashvillePost.com sources say that at approximately 2 a.m. Saturday morning, McNair was celebrating the holidays at the Blue Moon Restaurant near the John C. Tune Airport.
According to the same NashvillePost.com sources, a white woman in her early 20s, around 5-foot-4, approached McNair at the restaurant and accused him of slipping her a “roofie” a year ago.
The woman then told McNair, according to sources, that her boyfriend was going to kill him.
Roofie is a slang term for Rohypnol, a sedative dating back to the early 1970s that is used in hospitals for deep sedation, but is now a fairly infamous date-rape drug.
Multiple sources have confirmed that this information has been shared with the Metro Police Department. Metro Police has yet to identify the dead woman, but is it unknown if the woman at the restaurant is the same woman found in the condo.
UPDATED 10:21 p.m. — According To The Tennessean.com: A car registered to Steve McNair and a 20-year-old woman was stopped two days ago on Broadway. The driver and co-owner, Sahel Kazemi, was charged with driving under the influence and refusing to take a breath test. The car was a 2007 black Cadillac Escalade.
Earlier today, a black Escalade was towed from the condominium complex on Second Avenue where McNair and a female who has not yet been identified by police were found dead this afternoon.
UPDATED 8:58 p.m. — From The Tennessean.com: “Wayne Neely, who also rents a condominium with McNair, arrived to find the bodies inside the condo on Lea Avenue off Second Avenue South, said Metro police spokesman Don Aaron.
The building at 105 Lea Avenue is registered to Charles Cardwell.
McNair appears to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds, Aaron said.
McNeely and another man, Robert Gaddy, were interviewed by police and released, Aaron said.
A Cadillac Escalade and a Lincoln Navigator were towed away from the scene.”
UPDATED 8:51 p.m. — NewsChannel 5 is Nashville is reporting: “According to police, there were no signs of forced entry at the crime scene. While the female victim’s identity has not been released, police are confirming she is not Mechelle McNair.”
UPDATED 7:03 p.m. –Reuters is now reporting Steve McNair’s death as “an apparent murder-suicide.”
UPDATED 6:25 p.m. — Steve McNair has been found murdered in downtown Nashville along with another unidentified woman. Rumors are swirling about McNair’s social life and how he was found dead of a shotgun wound to the head along with a female at a condominium off of 2nd Ave. in downtown Nashville and this story is less than two hours old.
McNair was found dead after 3 p.m. EST and Nashville Public Information Officer Don Aaron held a brief press conference at 4:45 p.m. and said that that two victims exist, a male and a female. “We now know that the male deceased is Steve McNair.”
“At this point we don’t know the circumstances of these shooting deaths. The investigation is going to be conducted by the police department’s centralized homocide unit. Those detectives have assembled here at the scene and the condominium still has to be processed. There’s a lot of work left to be done and it’s going to take many hours to process the scene and I don’t have any answers for you now as to what’s happened, who’s responsible and what the circumstances are.”
CNN.com said a “enforcement source close to the investigation said the woman is McNair’s girlfriend and that the residence is her condominium in downtown Nashville. Witnesses said he was a frequent visitor there.”
Obviously, we’ll be following this story but the video below is the way we best remember Steve McNair, who dropped by our WNST Nashville pre-game party back at Limelight in January and spent an hour chatting with purple fans everywhere and raising money for his Air McNair Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House here in Baltimore. This is a major shock to all of us who knew Steve.
Derrick Mason just appeared on ESPN and was “in shock. Steve spent a lot of time with his family. We ran into each other. We saw each other. During the season, we built a close bond throughout the years that not too many people can build. It’s still shocking to me. It’s just something that’s hard for you to believe until it all sinks in and you get all of the information.”
“Steve’s passion for the game, how relentless he was. Going out there and making sure we had a chance to win a game. Off the field, it was the same way. He was a guy who was happy and very generous. He’d give you the shirt off of his back. I knew if he could help you, he would.”
“His legacy is his toughness. I think that’s what people will remember him for. He’d play through anything. I hope off the field, he’ll be remembered as a good man.”
This video will show you the gentle and affable side of McNair, who worked the room at Limelight in January and couldn’t have been more available to the Baltimore fans in his hometown: