McNair's Death Is Ruled a Homicide

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By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 6, 2009

The investigation into the shooting death of former Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair continued yesterday in Nashville.

Police announced following the completion of autopsies that McNair had been shot four times, twice in the head and twice in the chest, and his death had been classified as a homicide. But authorities declined to classify the death of Sahel Kazemi, the 20-year-old woman whose body was found with McNair's at a Nashville condominium on Saturday.

Kazemi had one gunshot wound to the head, and a semiautomatic pistol was found beneath her body, according to police. There was no sign of forced entry into the condo, according to police. But investigators stopped short of classifying the shootings as a murder-suicide, saying it had not been determined if Kazemi's death was a suicide or a homicide.

"Based on the evidence at the scene and based on what we know from witnesses thus far, you can lean certain ways in an investigation," police spokesman Don Aaron said at an afternoon news conference. "But you can't be closed-minded in an investigation. No possibilities have been ruled out."

Pressed on whether investigators were focusing on the shootings as a likely murder-suicide, Aaron said: "All scenarios are open. Nothing is being ruled out. The scenario that you just mentioned is open. But so are others."

Police determined McNair and Kazemi were having "a dating relationship over the past several months," Aaron said. McNair was married, and it's not clear whether his wife, Mechelle, knew about the relationship with Kazemi, Aaron said. Police previously indicated that Mechelle McNair was not a suspect in the investigation.

Early Thursday, Kazemi had been charged with driving under the influence after being stopped by police in a vehicle registered to her and McNair, according to authorities. McNair was in the vehicle at the time but was not charged with a crime, according to police.

According to Aaron, police determined that McNair visited at least two bars Friday night and early Saturday morning before arriving at the condo complex at which he was shot. According to police, the bodies were found Saturday by Wayne Neeley, who reportedly was renting the condo along with McNair. Neeley called another friend of McNair's, Robert Gaddy, who went to the condo and contacted police Saturday afternoon, Aaron said.

McNair's body was found in a sitting position on a couch in the living room of the condo, according to police. Kazemi's body was found nearby on the floor, Aaron said. Aaron said the shootings had occurred hours before the bodies were discovered, but indicated he could not provide a precise time.

Funeral arrangements were not announced yesterday. McNair was 36 and last played in the NFL for the Ravens in 2007. He played 13 seasons, was selected to three Pro Bowls and was a co-NFL most valuable player in 2003.

Special correspondent Sheila Burke contributed to this report from Nashville.


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