Police say the gun found at the scene where former NFL star Steve McNair died was bought by his girlfriend less than two days before the two were shot to death.
Nashville, Tenn., police spokesman Don Aaron said Monday that 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi bought the semiautomatic handgun Thursday evening from a person he didn’t name.
An autopsy showed that McNair and Kazemi died early Saturday. He was shot four times – two shots each to the head and chest – and his death has been ruled a homicide. She was shot once and Aaron said police are still waiting for ballistic and gunpowder residue tests before deciding if she was slain or committed suicide.
Their bodies were found in a Nashville condominium leased by McNair, who was 36.
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Kazemi’s relative, Farzin Abdi, said police told him they are almost sure Kazemi was the shooter, but the 27-year-old nephew said he doesn’t believe she would do it.
“There was no way she was depressed and wanting to do this,” he said. “She was so happy. … She just had it made, you know, (with) this guy taking care of everything.”
Nashville police didn’t immediately have a response to Abdi’s comments.
The star quarterback and the waitress met six months ago, at a restaurant where she worked and his family often ate. He was married and 16 years older, but she seemed happy and eager to build a life with him.
McNair was retired from the NFL and spending time again in Nashville, where he had spent the best years of his career. Kazemi was young and swept up: He gave her an Escalade for her birthday and took her on trips to Las Vegas and Key West.
On Monday, as the coach of the Tennessee Titans remembered McNair as the man who put the franchise on the map and police continued their investigation, more details of their relationship came to light.
Kazemi appeared confident the pair would last and had introduced her family to McNair, her nephew said. Abdi quoted her as saying McNair was divorcing his wife and that it would be finalized soon.
“I think she had already put her stuff up for sale on Craigslist,” Abdi said.
The first sign of trouble was early Thursday morning. Police stopped Kazemi on Broadway, not far from the honky-tonks where throaty country singers belt out tales of unfaithful spouses. She was driving the Escalade.
According to an arrest affidavit, Kazemi had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on her breath. She refused a breath test and told an officer “she was not drunk, she was high.” She was charged with DUI.
McNair was with her but not charged. He later made her bail.
The two then apparently spent some time apart.
According to Aaron, McNair wasn’t with Kazemi when she bought the semiautomatic pistol that was found at the scene. Police have declined to release the caliber or the name of the person who sold it to her.
The next night, McNair was out late with friends, but he and Kazemi got together soon after at a downtown condo within sight of the Titans’ stadium, a pad McNair shared with a friend. A witness told police the quarterback arrived between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. Her car was already there.
When McNair’s roommate, Wayne Neeley, got to the condo at midday, what he thought he saw was his friend sitting on the couch and Kazemi lying on the floor. So he went into the kitchen. Then he saw the blood, police said.
Officers said they found a gun under her body. There were no signs of forced entry into the condo. Police labeled McNair’s death a homicide Sunday but said they were reviewing every possibility before labeling Kazemi’s death.
Mechelle McNair, his wife of 12 years and mother of two of his four sons born between 1991 and 2004, has been described by police as very distraught about his death and has not commented.
No court records of divorce proceedings have surfaced so far. The strongest public evidence that the McNairs might have been estranged is that their 14,000-square-foot Nashville home has been up for sale, listed at $3 million.
“The Steve that I knew, if he were here right now, would want to say, ‘Mechelle, I love you,’ ” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
“It may be we’ll never know exactly why this happened,” Aaron said.
McNair retired from the NFL last year.
Man pleads in coach killing
The man accused of killing an Iowa high school football coach has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Coach Ed Thomas was fatally shot on June 24 in a weight room in front of about 20 students at Aplington-Parkersburg High School in northeast Iowa.
Former player Mark Becker, 24, pleaded not guilty in a written plea on Thursday.
Becker remains in the Cerro Gordo County jail on $1 million cash bond.
Thomas coached for 34 years in the community about 80 miles northeast of Des Moines.
Hall of Famer Creekmur dies
Hall of Fame offensive lineman Lou Creekmur, who starred on the Detroit Lions’ three NFL championship teams of the 1950s, died Sunday. He was 82.
Creekmur played for the Lions from 1950 to 1959, mostly at left tackle. He made eight straight Pro Bowl teams, was picked to the All-NFL team six times and was chosen for the Lions’ 75th Anniversary Team in 2008.
Creekmur was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.