U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Middle District of Tennessee
For Immediate Release
July 17, 2009
Edward M. Yarbrough, United States Attorney
Contact: Philip H. Wehby, Assistant U.S. Attorney
Lavergne, Tenn., Resident Arrested In COnnection With The Sale Of Handgun In McNair Shooting
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Edward M. Yarbrough, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee; James M. Cavanaugh, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) Nashville Division; Ronal Serpas, Police Chief of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; and Mark Gwyn, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, announced today that Adrian J. Gilliam Jr., 33, of Lavergne, Tenn., was arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville alleges that on July 4, 2009, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department officers responded to a 911 call reporting a shooting at 105 Lea Avenue, Apt. #4, in downtown Nashville. Upon arriving at the location, officers discovered the bodies of a male, later identified as Steve L. McNair, and a female, later identified as Sahel Kazemi, inside the apartment. Investigation at the scene resulted in the recovery of a Bryco/Jennings 9mm pistol from underneath the deceased female inside the apartment. Several shell casings were also recovered from the apartment.
Metropolitan Nashville Police detectives thereafter conducted an investigation of the incident. As part of the investigation, physical evidence, including the 9mm pistol, shell casings and projectiles recovered from the crime scene and from the victim, McNair, were sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) for ballistics analysis. That analysis revealed that said firearm was the firearm used in the shooting of both individuals. Based upon a review of the physical evidence, including the autopsy results, as well as witness statements obtained in the case, detectives concluded that the July 4 shooting was a murder-suicide, with McNair being murdered by Kazemi before taking her own life.
During the course of the investigation, detectives interviewed several individuals regarding the 9mm pistol used in the shooting. A firearms trace conducted by the ATF revealed that the firearm was purchased on Jan. 3, 2002, from Household Pawn in Nashville. Further investigation revealed the 9mm pistol was later sold for approximately $100 to Adrian Gilliam approximately one to one and a half years ago. On July 5, 2009, Adrian Gilliam was located and interviewed by detectives at his residence in Lavergne, Tenn., and confirmed that he had purchased the 9mm pistol from an individual. Detectives also confirmed that Gilliam had sold the 9mm pistol for approximately $100 to Sahel Kazemi on July 2, 2009, outside of Dave and Buster’s, a sports café, at the Opry Mills Mall.
A criminal history check of Gilliam revealed that at the time of this offense he had prior felony convictions from the state of Florida. Specifically, Gilliam was convicted in 1993 of three counts of attempted armed robbery and second degree murder in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit, Dade County, Fla., for which he received sentences of 15 years and 17 years, respectively.
U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough stated, “One of the principal objectives of the federal gun laws which prohibit firearm possession by felons is to thwart and prevent violent crime such as the two deaths in this case. The rapid and effective work of the investigating agencies has resulted in a significant federal prosecution that underscores the need to vigorously enforce all federal gun laws. We are committed to doing just that.”
“Today’s arrest exhibits great investigative work by the Metro Nashville Police Department, TBI and ATF,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Jim Cavanaugh. “Now in custody, Gilliam faces federal prosecution for his involvement in this tragic case.”
“Metro Nashville detectives were in contact with our federal partners early in this investigation and, thanks to ATF’s tracing assistance, on July 5th we identified Gilliam as the seller of the pistol to Sahel Kazemi,” said Chief Ronal Serpas. “Once the details of Gilliam’s Florida convictions were confirmed, we all agreed that federal prosecution was clearly in order. The very close relationship between our officers, ATF agents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in prosecuting convicted felons with firearms is vital to the safety of Nashville’s families.”
The prosecution of this matter is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nashville. Participating agencies in this investigation include the ATF, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip H. Wehby is prosecuting the case.
The public is reminded that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.