In a press conference detailing the arrest in the shooting death of Joe McKnight, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand laid out the investigative strategy leading to the arrest of Ronald Gasser. Gasser was taken into custody after the shooting but was released from custody as what Normand called a "strategic" method of investigation.
When deputies arrived, the sheriff said Gasser handed them his gun and confessed to killing McKnight, who played running back for the Saskatchewan Roughriders last season. Gasser sat passively by his vehicle as bystanders worked to revive McKnight, Sheriff Newell Normand said last week.
Normand also blasted a witness who he said lied several times about the shooting, which occurred as the result of an apparent road-rage incident between Gasser and McKnight. "It's about what we want and what we want now, and we don't care who we disparage in the process", Normand said with a pound of the podium, encapsulating the attitudes of his department's critics. The law says a person does not have "a duty to retreat" when the prospect of life-threatening or great bodily harm appears imminent.
A manslaughter, rather than murder, charge "best fit the evidence that we have at this time", Normand said, adding that further evidence could lead to a change in the charges later in the investigation.
As for the case itself, Normand made it clear this was about "two adult males engaged in unacceptable behavior".
Normand said no gun was found outside either vehicle, but they had not searched the cars and won't do so until a search warrant has been obtained.
Citing "hundreds of cases" where JPSO officers have not arrested suspects that they knew had committed a crime right away, Normand said they had done nothing out of the ordinary in the Gasser case. According to USA Today the situation with McKnight is the second road rage incident Gasser has been involved in. It wasn't until Tuesday morning that Glasser was arrested and charged with manslaughter in the death of McKnight. Normand has said the dispute between the men started on a bridge and proceeded into a New Orleans suburb.
He asked, "Does race matter?" in this case, because he said not one single witness of the 160 people they talked to brought up race.
At some point during the verbal exchange, the Louisiana man pulled out his weapon and fired at McKnight three times, killing him.
McKnight played for four years in the National Football League with the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jets held a moment of silence Monday night before their game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium to honor the former running back.
McKnight went on to play at the University of Southern California before being drafted in 2010 by NY, where he played until 2012.
Joe McKnight helped John Curtis Christian High School in River Ridge win three Louisiana state championships, scoring more than 50 touchdowns during his last two seasons there. The sheriff said that in February 2006, a man observed a truck driving erratically and called a number on the truck, speaking to a man later identified as Gasser. The other motorist told authorities that Gasser followed him to a nearby gas station in his pickup truck, got out of his vehicle and started punching him.