Former NFL player and local New Orleans high school stand-out Joe McKnight was shot dead in what appears to be another fatal road rage incident.
According to the Times-Picayune, the shooting took place around 3 p.m. on Thursday at an intersection in the New Orleans suburb of Terrytown.
A witness stated that she saw a white male, later identified as 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, screaming at the 28-year-old former NFL star, who the witness said appeared to be trying to diffuse the situation and apologize.
According to the witness, that’s when Gasser forced McKnight out of his Audi, but at this time it’s unclear if he did so at gunpoint.
“I told you not to f*ck with me,” Gasser said, before firing once more at McKnight as he lay on the ground.
Police confirm that McKnight was unarmed, and no guns were found in his vehicle.
After the shooting, Gasser was taken into custody and questioned overnight. However, the Jefferson Parish sheriff’s department saw fit to release the 54-year-old with no charges on Friday morning.
Louisiana is a “stand your ground” state, and there’s currently speculation that if Gasser is charged and pleads “not guilty” that he may seek to use that defense.
Elmo Lee, McKnight’s stepfather, recounted their special relationship.
“I love that kid from day one, I loved him,” Lee said. “I raised him from 6. I’ve been in his life from that point on, and I just talked to him, I just talked to him, just talked to him. He was looking forward to his Pro Day in April. I just had a conversation with the man.”
McKnight’s family said the 28-year-old leaves behind a young son.
“I just want everyone to know this was not a troubled kid, young man – the boy was just trying to make it back in the NFL, that’s all he wanted to do,” Lee said. “That was his whole dream. From 6 years old I’ve been knowing him, from 6, and for this to happen is just senseless, and it has to stop somewhere. It has to stop.”
But now it appears McKnight’s dream has died due to one man’s decision to settle an argument with a gun.
So instead of preparing for a celebration, McKnight’s family is making preparations for a funeral.
“You just took a young man’s life that’s trying to get back to accomplish his dream over a road rage or something just that senseless, and I mean, he didn’t deserve that, he really didn’t deserve that at all,” Lee said. “He was a big part of this community, he was a big part of the community in Kenner where he came from. He played a big part at John Curtis, and he did everything he was supposed to do, you know? He did everything you’re supposed to do.”
Unless arrested, McKnight’s killer could enjoy at least one more weekend surrounded by his family and friends, all while McKnight’s family goes through a living hell.
This is just another sad day in America, where people settle disputes with bullets instead of words, while Republicans and the National Rifle Association strives to put a gun in the hand of every citizen.
Featured image via screenshot