Published: Mon, December 05, 2016
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Road rage ends in McKnight's death; criticism of case looms

Former N.F.L running back, Joe McKnight, was shot to death at a New Orleans intersection during an apparent road rage incident.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the altercation that ended with McKnight's death started on a nearby bridge - possibly when one driver cut the other off - and then proceeded into streets of the New Orleans suburb. Authorities identified Ronald Gasser, 54, as the shooter and released him overnight.

Normand says the investigation is continuing and defended his treatment of the case.

But a local NAACP official says they'll ask the Department of Justice to open an independent investigation into the shooting.

"Out of an abundance of caution and out of a respect to both the decedent, Mr. Joe McKnight, as well as the individual who shot and killed McKnight, Mr. Ronald Gasser, that's the way it has to be", Normand said.

"Witnesses collectively observed McKnight and Gasser in a heated verbal exchange from their respective vehicles at the intersection". Gasser followed the man to a service station, and "began to strike him with a closed fist several times".

Gasser, who is white, admitted to shooting McKnight, who is black, and handed over a semi-automatic handgun to police. Authorities said they are trying to determine why it was dismissed.

McKnight played three seasons for the New York Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs. Gasser's Infiniti G37 two-door sedan was in the right lane and parallel to the SUV, the release said.

Speaking of Gasser's release, the sheriff said the state has certain "statutes" that provide a defense to certain crimes but did not go into further detail. "Mr. Gasser is not going anywhere", Normand said.

Sheriff Normand said there's no evidence the shooting had a racial basis, despite heavy social media traffic on that subject.

McKnight was considered the nation's No. 1 running back recruit when he came out of Louisiana in 2006 and signed with the University of Southern California.

McKnight last played in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Former teammates in NY remembered McKnight fondly.

"Joe will be remembered for a lot of good things and I was proud to have known him and proud to have coached him". Carroll coached McKnight in college and had spoken with him recently in an attempt to lend some help. And unfortunately this happened, so we're going to miss him greatly.

"I just want people to know that this was not a troubled kid".

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