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Death of NFL star Steve McNair was homicide-police

Police yesterday ruled the death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair a homicide, a day after his bullet-riddled body was found in a Nashville apartment along with the body of his girlfriend, whose death has not been classified.

McNair, who was 36, was shot four times -- twice in the head, twice in the chest, according to a statement posted yesterday on the Nashville police website.

A semi-automatic pistol was found underneath the body of McNair's girlfriend, 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi, who was shot in the head.

There was no sign of forced entry into the condominium. But police did not speculate in the statement on whether Kazemi is believed to have murdered McNair and committed suicide.

"While it is clear McNair's death is a homicide, the police department is not classifying Kazemi's death pending further investigation and interviews with persons who knew her and McNair," Nashville police said in the statement.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms is assisting police in tracing the purchase and ownership of the pistol.

Police also plan to follow up with staff at two nightspots McNair visited on Friday night and early Saturday, the statement said. The bodies were found on Saturday by sporting goods dealer Wayne Neeley, with whom McNair rented the condominium. Neeley called a friend who came to the apartment and called the police.
A witness reported that McNair had arrived at the condo early on Saturday morning and that Kazemi's vehicle was already parked outside, the police statement said. Police were told McNair, who was married, and Kazemi had been dating for several months.

Two days earlier, Kazemi had been arrested in the early hours for driving under the influence. McNair was in the passenger's seat at the time of the traffic stop.

McNair, who played 13 seasons in the NFL, was a local hero who did extensive charity work in Nashville. He played mostly with the Tennessee Titans and its predecessor team, the Houston Oilers.

Drafted by the Oilers in 1995 out of Alcorn State College in Mississippi, McNair led the Titans to their only Super Bowl appearance, losing to the St. Louis Rams in 2000.

He was the NFL's co-MVP in 2003, and was selected for the Pro Bowl three times. McNair ended his career with the Baltimore Ravens and retired after the 2007 season.

According to local press reports, Kazemi had moved to Nashville from her parents' home in Florida. She worked as a waitress at a restaurant where she met McNair.

McNair had four sons, one of whom, Steven Jr., is a high school football star who has received offers to play college football.


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