The man who shot former NFL player Joe McKnight to death in an “apparent road rage” incident in Louisiana has been released from custody with no charges filed. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand confirmed today to reporters that deputies let 54-year-old Ronald Gasser go last night after taking a statement from him; he added that the investigation is ongoing.
At a press conference today, Normand refuted Thursday’s NOLA.com report, in which a witness said that McKnight was apologizing as Gasser shot him, after which Gasser stood over his body as he said, “I told you don’t fuck with me,” before shooting again. Normand said that all three bullet casings were found in Gasser’s car because Gasser, from Harvey, La., fired the gun from his driver’s seat. McKnight was shot in the hand, shoulder, and chest. The sheriff believed that officials talked to the same witness as NOLA.com, and found the allegations in that story to be “factually incorrect.”
Normand did not believe there was anything to suggest McKnight’s death was a hate crime. “This isn’t about race,” he said. Normand said that he knew McKnight from his football career, and a man who worked as a deputy at the sheriff’s office helped raise McKnight when he was younger.
Normand said the office is still looking for more witnesses, and wasn’t yet sure about the exact reason for the shooting. He suggested that it could be as simple as someone cutting off someone else while driving. The sheriff asked the public to not believe what they read on social media, and repeatedly mentioned using caution and not rushing to judgement.
“This [investigation] will be done in the appropriate way,” Normand said.