Crime

Man accused of shooting former NFL player charged with manslaughter

An image, shared on social media, shows the scene in Terrytown immediately after the shooting of Kenner native and football star Joe McKnight on Thursday afternoon.
An image, shared on social media, shows the scene in Terrytown immediately after the shooting of Kenner native and football star Joe McKnight on Thursday afternoon.

Ronald Gasser, the man accused of fatally shooting former NFL player Joe McKnight in Terrytown on Thursday, has been jailed on a count of manslaughter, Jefferson Parish Correctional Center records showed Tuesday.

Gasser, 54, was released by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office last week without charges pending further investigation of McKnight's death, a decision that prompted demonstrations and outrage on social media.

Gasser’s release again came under question after the Sheriff’s Office on Friday night released details about his 2006 arrest in connection to a bizarre road-rage incident at the same intersection where McKnight was shot, Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard.

Thursday's shooting was the result of an apparent road-rage incident. Gasser sat passively by his car as bystanders worked to revive McKnight, Sheriff Newell Normand said last week. When deputies arrived, Gasser handed them his gun and confessed to killing McKnight, Normand said.

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. He later played for the University of Southern California as well as the NFL's New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.

One of the definitions of manslaughter in Louisiana is a killing committed in "sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool reflection." Another definition of manslaughter is an unintentional killing committed during the course of another felony or misdemeanor, excluding crimes such as kidnapping, rape, robbery or escaping from custody, among others.

Manslaughter is punishable by up to 40 years in prison.

Read more about this story at TheAdvocate.com

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