Selected transcript from McNair press conference

Monday, July 6, 2009 at 8:37pm

Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron addressed members of the media Monday regarding the homicide of former Titans star Steve McNair. Here is much of the transcript of that press conference:

Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron: As a result of the investigation, we now know that the gun recovered from the crime scene, the gun that was underneath Kazemi’s body, was purchased by Kazemi on Thursday night from a private individual. The police department has had discussions with the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms to trace the weapon. We were able to learn the original purchaser of the gun and where it had been since the original purchase and ultimately we were able to determine through the investigation that Kazemi actually bought the gun Thursday night from a private individual.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation continues to conduct ballistics and gunshot residue testing. That testing is not complete. The classification of Ms. Kazemi’s death will not be made until ballistics and gunshot residue testing by the TBI is done and the results come back.

As a result of the analysis of the crime scene and the evidence available at this point, we believe a total of five shots were fired inside the condominium. Four of those bullets, as you know, struck Steve McNair. One of those bullets struck Ms. Kazemi.

Yesterday I mentioned that we had yet to interview Keith Norfleet. Mr. Norfleet was interviewed in detail at police headquarters on Sunday night. He was very cooperative and after answering our questions was allowed to go home.

(Is Norfleet a suspect?)

Aaron: As far as Mr. Norfleet is concerned, we had to interview him based on his... prior relationship with Ms. Kazemi. Obviously he had certain thoughts about her relationship with Steve McNair. We needed to find out what he knew, what she may have told him in the past as we tried to put the pieces together. As far as the word ‘suspect’ is concerned, we really haven’t used the word suspect since the weekend.

(Are police aware of posts by Jett Jackson, a friend of Norfleet’s, on alluding to the death of McNair?)

Aaron: As far as internet postings, the police department is aware of them. We are talking to certain individuals here in this community about them. We are also in contact with some of those internet companies to ascertain exactly what was posted when, and if we can learn by who.

That is not a process that can be done instantaneously and we’re [attempting] to answer those questions.

(Was the gun purchased before Kazemi and McNair were pulled over early Thursday morning?)

Aaron: No, the traffic stop occurred between 1 and 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning. The gun was purchased Thursday evening after the traffic stop, the DUI arrest.

(Was it a legal transaction to buy the gun?)

Aaron: I don’t know. She was not qualified for a handgun carry permit, because she was 20-years old and you must be 21 to qualify for a handgun carry permit. As far as whether the purchase was legal or not, I don’t know.

(Was the crime scene cleaned up before police arrived?)

Aaron: I would disagree that the crime scene was ‘cleaned up.’ There were individuals who went inside the condominium and there was a period of time between their entrance and the time the police department was called. We’re still trying to pinpoint exactly how much time elapsed. We believe it could have been 40 minutes, or it may have been even longer. As far as things being ‘cleaned up,’ I’ll have to disagree with you there.

(Mr. Neely – who co-rented the condo with McNair – did not call 911, but instead called a friend first. Is this unusual?)

Aaron: You might see a loved-one called first, perhaps, before 911. Suffice it to say we are concerned about the time that elapsed between the discovery of the bodies and the time the 911 call was made. As you know, the 911 call was made at 1:35 p.m. The discovery of the body, we think, occurred before 1 p.m.

(Were the bodies moved or anything else?)

Aaron: We have no evidence to suggest the bodies were moved. I wouldn’t want to discuss [whether anything else was moved] at this point.

(Kazemi admitted she was not drunk, but high, during traffic stop on Thursday early morning. Was there a search of her, McNair or the car?)

Aaron: She did say that she had not been drinking. She referenced some type of hookah situation. At one point she does reference that she was high. The field sobriety test was conducted. The officer determined the field sobriety test was positive to indicate impairment. McNair was told that she was going to be asked to submit to a breath test. Because she was the owner of the vehicle, she was told to hang tight with the officer. McNair was told he could leave. This admission about being high did not come until well after she had taken the field sobriety test and she was seated in the back of the police vehicle.

(Why wasn’t the vehicle impounded after traffic stop)

Aaron: [Officer Taylor] actually was inside the vehicle. To the best of my knowledge, he found nothing suspicious inside the vehicle and the vehicle was left at Ninth and Broadway, the parking spaces beside the federal building.

(Was Mr. Norfleet with her when she purchased the gun?)

Aaron: Not that I’m aware of.

(Are you aware of incident at Blue Moon Lagoon at around 2 a.m. Saturday morning when Metro Police were called?)

Aaron: We know that McNair was at Blue Moon Lagoon and Loser’s on Friday night and into the early morning hours on Saturday. We are going to be questioning persons who were there, management, the staffs. That is on the list to do. There is obviously in this situation a lot of things detectives need to do before we finally close the case file, and we’re doing those things meticulously minute-by-minute, but it’s going to take a few days to get it all done.

(Aware of bar patron in fight with McNair and her boyfriend threatened to kill him?)

Aaron: I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of that.

(Have interviews with family and friends shed light on relationship)

Aaron: I think it is fair to say that as a result of the interviews that have been conducted since the weekend, we are beginning to make some headway in trying to understand what took place. Do we fully understand what took place to this point? No. Detectives are still in the field trying to learn the full circumstances of why this occurred. Perhaps when everything is said and done we may have the answers. Maybe we’ll never know exactly why this happened.

(Are ballistics tests significant enough for detectives to determine the category of the crime?)

Aaron: The ballistics test are important prior to the classification of Kazemi’s death. Also important is the gunshot residue test. Gunshot residue testing is not 100 percent reliable. We know that. But there have been advancements in gunshot residue testing in recent time, that make it important for us to see the results. Once we see the ballistics testing report, once we see the gunshot residue test report, we may be in a position to make some conclusions regarding the classification of Ms. Kazemi’s death. I’m saying we may be. These are not going to be tell-all.

(Time frame for test results?)

Aaron: The TBI is conducting those tests. The TBI has those in process and will be reporting to the police department when they’re completed.

(What kind of gun?)

Aaron: A semi-automatic pistol [can’t say what caliber].

(Any other weapons in house or drugs?)

Aaron: Not that I’m aware of.

(Looking at history of particular condominium and how it was used?)

Well we know from Mr. Neely that he and Mr. McNair were co-renting this condominium. And I think they both used it at certain times. I don’t know who had it before them. I know that Mr. [Charlie] Cardwell owns it. I think they were leasing it from him. Who was there [and] when over the past several months? I don’t know.

(Any indication of McNair and wife Mechelle seeking divorce?)

Aaron: [No apparent records of any filings]

(Any indication of physical fight on the night of the incident?)

Aaron: No.

(Does proximity of physical distance that Mr. McNair was shot from suggest anything?)

Aaron: The crime scene was meticulously processed with state-of-the-art equipment. The very specially-trained detectives on staff here at this police department have reviewed the scene, and actually were back at the scene this morning again, making sure that they understood what took place, and how it may have taken place.

We think we have an idea of how things went down in the condominium as far as the gunshots. I’m not at liberty at this point to discuss that with you. But we think that we’re beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle together as far as that particular aspect.

(Who was third person in Escalade the night of DUI arrest of Kazemi)

Aaron: I don’t know who that was.