Local Church Offers Prayers For McNair - WSMV News 4

Local Church Offers Prayers For McNair

Updated: July 5, 2010

One year after Steve McNair's murder, one Nashville church is choosing to honor his life and family with prayer.

For Tennessee Titans fans, Independence Day is also a somber anniversary.  On July 4, 2009, former the former Titans quarterback was found shot to death in his downtown Nashville condo.

"His name still resonates in our community," said John Gassaway, Pastor of McNairy Hill United Primitive Baptist Church.

The church, along with the anti-violence group Partners in the Struggle, held a city-wide prayer vigil Sunday to remember the football great.

"We know Steve was a warrior on the field, even when he was hurt," said Earl Jordan, Partners in the Struggle co-founder.

McNair's work on the field is remembered with reverence, but his escapades off the field are a dark memory.

Metro Police investigators determined McNair's death a murder-suicide at the hands of his lover, 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi.  In the last year, that determination has not been enough for some.

"I will never believe Shael Kazemi pulled the trigger," Vincent Hill told WSMV.

Hill is a former Metro Police Officer with no detective experience and no involvement in the McNair investigation.  He has spearheaded efforts to reopen the case.  In press conference Friday, Metro Police said they have discredited his theories, including reports that McNair's gun and keys were missing from the crime scene.

"He brought innuendo, speculation, rumors, [and] gossip.  He brought everything but evidence," said Lead Homicide Detective Pat Postiglione.

Recently released interview tapes of Adrian Gilliam, the man who sold the murder weapon to Sahel Kazemi, have also brought attention to the closed case.  Gilliam initially told police he didn't know Kazemi's name, but later admitted he knew her well.

One year later, Gilliam is behind bars for his role in McNair's death.  Hill's efforts to reopen the McNair case have been denied by a grand jury.  And fans are choosing to celebrate McNair's life, his athletic ability and community work, despite his tragic death on July 4.

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