Ronald Gasser, the man who shot former NFL player Joe McKnight in a Louisiana traffic intersection, has been indicted by a grand jury on one count of second-degree murder. The indictment was announced today by the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office.
McKnight was shot on Dec. 1. A witness told the New Orleans Time-Picayune that she saw a man yelling at another man, who was trying to apologize, when the yelling man fired. The shooter, later identified as Gasser, was taken into custody but then released without charges. Afterward, the local sheriff held a press conference in which he said the investigation was ongoing and called the details as reported by the Times-Picayune “factually incorrect.”
Hours after the press conference, the sheriff’s office put out a press release confirming that Gasser had been arrested on a road rage charge before and at the same intersection where Gasser shot to death McKnight. In that case, Gasser was charged with simple battery, which was later dismissed.
Sheriff’s deputies did eventually charge Gasser for shooting McKnight with manslaughter, about five days after the incident. While announcing that charge, Sheriff Newell Normand said that a witness told them the fight started when McKnight cut off Gasser, who got mad and “set out” after McKnight. Later, both men were in their cars, windows rolled down, and arguing, when McKnight got out of his and leaned into the window of Gasser’s vehicle. That was when, according to Norman, Gasser pulled out a gun and shot McKnight three times. But he did reiterate that the witness who spoke to the Times-Picayune had lied.
Today, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that one witness said he did not see McKnight acting aggressive.
The witness, Andrew Bailey, 26, told Outside the Lines that McKnight was standing in the small space between his Audi SUV and the passenger window of Gasser’s Infiniti Sedan, “talking with his hands” and appearing to be having a “general conversation.” Bailey — who was waiting to turn on the other side of the Terrytown, Louisiana, intersection — said the 28-year-old former Southern California star was not trying to force his way into Gasser’s car. “He never moved closer to the vehicle.”
If convicted, the district attorney’s office said Gasser would face a sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor without parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. A lawyer for Gasser told the New Orleans Advocate that his client will argue that he was acting in self defense.