This story was updated at 10:45 a.m.
Ronald Gasser was released from jail sometime overnight. A representative of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Dept. told TMZ that Gasser was released after officials felt they had no reason to hold him. The case is however, still open.
The NFL, football fans and the Canadian Football League are all in mourning today as news of the murder of Joe McKnight spreads. The 28-year-old former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs player is the second former NFL played gunned down in New Orleans traffic in 2016. Superbowl champion, former New Orleans Saints player, Will Smith was gunned down in April in an apparent road rage incident as well.
Details surrounding the shooting are sketchy as of right now. The only facts that have been verified is that 54-year-old Ronald Gasser indeed shouted at McKnight before pulling his weapon and shooting him multiple times at point blank range. Witnesses were horrified as they looked on. One woman told police that she witnessed Gasser shouting at McKnight, who was profusely trying to apologize for something. After McKnight had fallen to the ground from his injuries, witnesses report that he then stood over McKnight’s body stating “I told you not to fu#k with me” before firing at him again.
The shooting happened at approximately 2:45 p.m. in the middle of the busy intersection at Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard.
McKnight’s story of success has been much followed since before his being drafted into the NCAA in 2007. Joe McKnight was a standout football star in high school. When he lost his home in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, JT Curtis, his high school coach took him in. In 2005 ESPN did a story on the young player and his coach, who saw something great in the young athlete. It is a very touching story of love, faith and strength.
After graduation from John Curtis Christian High School in River Ridge, Louisiana, McKnight received the “Frank Gifford Endowed Football Scholarship” to attend the University of Southern California.
In 2010 McKnight was the fourth round draft pic of the New York Jets and started his career as a professional athlete. In 2013 he was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs. An injury took him out of the game in 2014.
Joe McKnight was not done with football however, in 2016 the athlete joined the Canadian Football League. He played for the Edmonton Eskimos before being signed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He played in his debut for the Roughriders in October 2016.
On hearing of his death, Mcknight’s high school coach, JT Curtis said “To say this is a shock is an understatement. It is like losing part of your family; I have known Joe since he was in the fourth grade – and his sister and brother. They’re like family, and my heart just goes out to them. … I’m at a loss for words to be honest.”
Video has appeared on the internet of the scene after McKnight was shot. A uniformed officer, EMT and man clad in military gear all worked to resuscitate the wounded athlete who succumbed to his injuries on the street.
The shooter, Ronald Gasser, stayed on the scene after the shooting holding his gun until police arrived. When asked to hand over his weapon, he did so peacefully and was taken into police custody.
Joe McKnight was unarmed and apologizing when shot. R.I.P. Joe McKnight April 16, 1988-December 1, 2016. He leaves behind one child.