Police say McNair was sleeping when shot

By Lucas L. Johnson II
Associated Press / July 9, 2009
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NASHVILLE - Former NFL star Steve McNair was shot dead in his sleep last week by a 20-year-old girlfriend distraught about mounting financial problems and her belief that McNair was seeing someone else, police said yesterday.

Sahel Kazemi “was spinning out of control’’ when she shot McNair four times as he dozed on a sofa early Saturday, then turned the gun on herself, Police Chief Ronal Serpas said.

Interviews with friends revealed that she was making payments on two cars, her rent was doubling, and she suspected the married McNair was having a second affair with another young woman.

McNair was a passenger in Kazemi’s car when Nashville police arrested her a week ago. Police released video of that DUI stop.

In the video, recorded by patrol car cameras, Kazemi laughed and teased the officer, but also repeatedly asked to have McNair come to the window of the police cruiser where she was sitting.

The officer responded, “He’s not happy.’’ McNair, who wasn’t charged, left in a cab without talking to her.

“I told him you wanted to talk to him and he was more than welcome to come back to the car. He just left in a taxi,’’ Officer Shawn Taylor told Kazemi.

“I just want to know if Steve is going to come get me from jail,’’ she said. He later bailed her out.

McNair, 36, a quarterback for the Tennessee Titans most of his career, met Kazemi six months ago at a sports cafe where she was a waitress and his family often ate. She seemed happy and eager to build a life with him, but something went wrong.

“We do know that she was clearly sending a message during the last five to seven days of her life that things were going bad quickly,’’ Serpas said, though there was no indication she told anyone she planned to harm McNair.

Serpas said police believe McNair was asleep when he was killed because there were no defensive wounds. After shooting McNair in the head, Kazemi apparently shot him twice in the chest before shooting him again in the head.

Before shooting herself, she sat next to his body and “tried to stage it so she would fall in his lap,’’ Serpas said. She did, but her body slid to the floor and ended up at McNair’s feet. The gun was found underneath her.

Kazemi’s family told reporters that the woman was so confident McNair was divorcing his wife of 12 years that she was preparing to sell her furniture and move in with him.

But associate Mike Mu, who has worked with McNair’s charitable association for years, said earlier yesterday that McNair’s wife, Mechelle McNair, “didn’t know who this girl is.’’ No records of divorce proceedings have surfaced. The McNairs have four children.

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