July 4, 2009: Steve McNair is found dead of multiple gunshot wounds, along with the body of a young woman named Sahel Kazemi, in a condominium rented by McNair, at 105 Lea Avenue in downtown Nashville.
Stephen LaTreal McNair, nicknamed “Air McNair”, was a football quarterback who spent the majority of his NFL career with the Tennessee Titans. McNair played college football at Alcorn State in Lorman, Mississippi, where he won the 1994 Walter Payton Award as the top player in NCAA Division I-AA.
He was drafted third overall by the NFL’s Houston Oilers in 1995, becoming the Oilers’ regular starting quarterback in 1997, their first season in Tennessee (though he started six games over the prior two seasons in Houston), and remained the starting quarterback for the Titans through 2005. After the 2005 season, McNair was traded to the Baltimore Ravens, with whom he played for two seasons before retiring after thirteen NFL seasons.
McNair led the Titans to the playoffs four times, and the Ravens once, and played in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans. He is the Titans’ all-time leading passer. McNair was selected to the Pro Bowl three times, was All-Pro and Co-MVP in 2003, all as a Titan.
On July 4, 2009, McNair was fatally shot by his mistress, Sahel Kazemi. McNair had been shot twice in the body and twice in the head, with only one of the shots coming from closer than three feet. Kazemi had a single gunshot wound to the head, which was proved to have been fired from a gun that was held to her temple. McNair was believed to have been asleep on the couch when the shooting occurred.
The bodies were discovered by McNair’s friends Wayne Neely and Robert Gaddy, who called 911. The Nashville police declared McNair’s death a murder-suicide, with Kazemi as the perpetrator and McNair as the victim. The 9-mm gun used was found under Kazemi’s body and later tests revealed “trace evidence of (gunpowder) residue on her left hand.” Kazemi had a worsening financial situation and also suspected that McNair was in another extramarital relationship.
McNair, who was married at the time, had been dating the 20-year-old Kazemi in the months prior to their deaths. Two days before their deaths, Kazemi was pulled over in a black 2007 Cadillac Escalade in Nashville with McNair in the passenger seat and Vent Gordon, a chef at a restaurant McNair owned, in the back seat. The vehicle was registered in the names of both McNair and Kazemi. She was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
McNair was not arrested, instead leaving in a taxi with Gordon, despite Kazemi repeatedly asking the arresting officer to tell McNair he could come to the police car to talk to her. However, McNair later bailed Kazemi out of jail. Police later stated that after release from jail, Kazemi purchased the gun from a convicted murderer she met while looking for a buyer for her Kia.
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