The world of football is in shock today as news emerges that Joe McKnight, a former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs running back, was shot and killed in an apparent “road rage” incident. McKnight was driving his vehicle in Terrytown, Louisiana when he got into an argument with another motorist. The argument ended when McKnight was shot to death on the street of the small town just outside New Orleans. McKnight’s killing took place on the street in the middle of the afternoon.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office are investigating the killing as a possible road rage incident. Sheriff’s department spokesman, Col. John Fortunato, said police have identified the suspect as 54-year-old Ronald Gasser. It seems that Gasser remained at the scene and surrendered his firearm to officers. Gasser is now being questioned by homicide detectives.
According to NOLA, 28-year-old McKnight was identified as the victim by family members who had been traveling with him. They also report that a witness to the incident saw two men arguing at the intersection of Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard. The witness claimed that one man was yelling at a second man who was trying to apologize.
The witness went on to say that the man who had been yelling shot the second man multiple times, then said, “I told you, don’t you f*** with me,” before firing on the man again. McKnight died from his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
So Who Is Ronald Gasser?
By remaining at the scene of the shooting for officers to arrive, Ronald Gasser made it pretty straightforward for police to identify their suspect. It didn’t take long for the media to track down members of Gasser’s family.
According to NOLA, Gasser’s sister, Sharon Weileman, said she knew nothing of her brother’s involvement in McKnight’s murder until she saw a news report on TV. A shocked Weileman told a reporter that Gasser was “the most generous guy.”
“He’s the best guy, the most generous guy. I have no idea what happened. I can’t even talk right now.”
Gasser’s daughter, Candice Gasser-Bua, said that Ronald Gasser ran his own telecommunications business supplying and fitting office communications equipment. Unsurprisingly, Gasser-Bua did not wish to discuss the matter any further until such time as she could find out more about what happened between her father and Joe McKnight.
“I’m speechless at the moment. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened.”
Neighbours who live near Gassers home said that he appeared to live alone and mostly kept to himself. They said that they rarely spotted Gasser outdoors.
“He seemed to be a loner. I never saw anyone else coming or going out of there.”
Some claims are emerging on social media that Gasser was a white supremacist, though The Heavy claim that he has no criminal record in New Orleans. Many social media users are wondering why Gasser is being questioned but has apparently not been arrested.
What About McKnights Football Career?
The New York Times report that McKnight arrived at USC as an outstanding prospect drawing comparisons to Reggie Bush. In three seasons at USC McKnight amassed 2,755 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing and receiving and another two touchdowns as a returner.
Joe McKnight was a fourth-round draft pick by the New York Jets in 2010. McKnight spent three years with the Jets but failed to tie down a regular spot as a running back. He moved to Kansas City Chiefs and then to Miami Dolphins before an Achilles tendon injury ended his NFL career. In 2016, he played for the Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
McKnight’s USC career ended in controversy as USC investigated him for allegedly receiving improper benefits. As a result, McKnight was not allowed to play in the final game of his junior season in 2009. The controversy followed him to the New York Jets when a failed conditioning test, an arrest on traffic warrants and a concussion saw McKnight released by the Jets in August 2013. McKnight was to play just two more games in the NFL, both with Kansas City in 2014.
USC Coach Clay Helton used social media to express his sorrow at McKnights passing.
“[It] saddens me to hear the news about Joe McKnight. Our prayers go out to the McKnight family.”
Brian Cushing, one of McKnight’s USC teammates, joined the flood of tributes praising how far McKnight has come “as a player and a person.”
“I’m absolutely crushed to hear the news today about you being gone. I’ll never forget what you accomplished and how far you came as a player and a person.”
Joe McKnight is the second NFL player this year to die as a result of a possible road rage incident. Saints player Will Smith was killed in April.
According to the New Orleans Police Department, McKnight’s murder takes the number of homicides in the area in 2016 to 165.
[Featured Image by Wilfredo Lee/AP Images]