- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. | Police say the gun found at the scene where former NFL star Steve McNair died was bought by his girlfriend less than two days before the two were shot to death.

Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said Monday that 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi bought the semiautomatic handgun Thursday evening from a person he didn’t name.

An autopsy showed McNair and Kazemi died early Saturday. He was shot four times, and his death has been ruled a homicide. She was shot once, and Aaron said police are still waiting for ballistic and gunpowder residue tests before deciding whether she was slain or committed suicide.

Kazemi’s 27-year-old nephew, Farzin Abdi, said he doesn’t believe she would shoot McNair or kill herself.

“There was no way she was depressed and wanting to do this,” he said. “She was so happy. … She just had it made, you know, [with] this guy taking care of everything.”

Abdi said Kazemi believed McNair was divorcing his wife and she was preparing to sell her furniture to move in with him.

Nashville courts had no record of a McNair divorce case, but a 14,000-square-foot home he owned in Nashville is on the market for $3 million.

Mechelle McNair has been described as very distraught about her husband’s death and has not commented on it.

Before their deaths, the public knew nothing of Kazemi’s relationship with McNair, a star who had earned the respect of his fellow NFL players for shaking off defenders and injuries and the love of fans amazed at how the quarterback kept showing up for work - and winning.

He endeared himself further with his charity work. Not just from the checks he handed out but for throwing himself into the efforts like he did when he loaded boxes onto tractor-trailers bound for Hurricane Katrina victims.

Publicly, McNair was a happily married man and proud father of four sons who split his time between his Mississippi farm and a home in Nashville, where celebrities are cherished, not hassled.

His death, however, thrust a darker side of his private life into the spotlight.

“People have certain things that they do in life,” said McNair’s longtime friend Robert Gaddy, who called 911. “We don’t need to look on the situation at this time [but] on the fact we just lost a great member of society.”

Even McNair’s longtime agent said he didn’t know about the former quarterback’s relationship with Kazemi.

“As good as he was on the football field, that couldn’t touch the person,” agent Bus Cook said Sunday, still shaken by McNair’s death. “I mean, it just couldn’t.”

Hints of a problem with alcohol surfaced in May 2003 when a Nashville police officer pulled McNair over on suspicion of drunken driving. Police said the quarterback’s blood alcohol content was 0.18 percent - well over Tennessee’s legal limit. He also was charged with having a 9mm weapon with him, but all the charges were later dropped.

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