Mystery of married football star shot dead with woman

Police are trying to unravel the relationship between the former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and his friend, a 20-year-old woman, both found shot to death in his downtown condominium.

McNair, a star player for the Tennessee Titans who led them to the Super Bowl game and was named Most Valuable Player in the NFL in 2003, was found on a sofa in his living-room on Saturday with multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the head. His friend, Sahel Kazemi, was very close to him on the floor, killed by a single gunshot. A pistol was discovered near her, but police said it took a while to find the firearm. Authorities did not immediately say who was to blame for the killings, but they were not looking for any suspects.

McNair, 36, and Ms Kazemi were together just two days earlier, when she was pulled over driving a 2007 Escalade registered to her and McNair. She was arrested on drink-driving charges, and he was allowed to leave in a taxi.

McNair and Ms Kazemi apparently knew each other from a restaurant the quarterback and his family frequented, but workers there would not talk about their relationship. Police also refused to release further details, simply calling Ms Kazemi a "friend". A police spokesman, Don Aaron, said McNair's wife, Mechelle, is "very distraught". He added: "At this juncture, we do not believe she is involved. Nothing has been ruled out, but as far as actively looking for a suspect, the answer would be, No."

Fred McNair, the sports star's oldest brother, said some family members will travel to Nashville today to console Mechelle. "It's still kind of hard to believe," he said. "He was the greatest person in the world. He gave back to the community. He loved kids and he wanted to be a role model to kids." He said he did not know who Ms Kazemi was.

The bodies were discovered by McNair's friend, Wayne Neeley, who rents the condo with him. Mr Neeley told authorities he went into the condo, saw McNair and Ms Kazemi, but walked first into the kitchen before going back into the living-room. Mr Neeley called a friend, who alerted authorities.

Police said a witness saw McNair arrive at the condo in the upscale Rutledge Hill neighbourhood between 1.30am and 2am on Saturday and that Ms Kazemi's vehicle was already there. An arrest affidavit from Thursday said she had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on her breath when she was pulled over, but refused a breathalyser test, saying "she was not drunk, she was high".

McNair and his family were said to frequent the restaurant where Ms Kazemi was a waitress, Dave & Buster's in Nashville. Keith Norfleet, Ms Kazemi's ex-boyfriend, told The Tennessean newspaper that McNair and Ms Kazemi met at the restaurant. The restaurant manager Chris Truelove said: "She was reliable 90 per cent of the time. She was pretty outgoing. A lot of the guests liked being around her, and she liked being around the guests."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence