The suspect in the road rage shooting death of former NFL star Joe McKnight has been named. NOLA reports that 54-year-old white male Ronald Gasser was taken into custody at the scene of McKnight’s shooting in Terrytown, five miles southeast of New Orleans, on December 1. McKnight was 28 years old. He was unarmed at the time of his death. Witnesses reported that EMTs tried to perform life-saving techniques on McKnight at the scene to no avail.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Gasser Is Back in Police Custody on Manslaughter Charges
According to jail records in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Gasser is back in police custody as of December 5. He is facing manslaughter charges. At the time of writing, no bond has been set.
Less than 24 hours after his arrest, Gasser was released from police custody, reports WDSU. The station also says that detectives spent most of the night questioning Gasser about the shooting. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Col. John Fortunato said, “Gasser was released overnight and has not been charged as of yet. The matter remains under investigation.” WWL TV reports that Gasser “Gasser admitted to shooting McKnight and gave an explanation to investigators.”
NOLA reports that a female witness said she saw McKnight “trying to apologize” to another man after some sort of traffic accident. The witness says that the gunman then shot McKnight once, stood over him and said, “I told you not to f**k with me,” and fired another shot into the former NFL star. That account was later discredited by Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand who said that Gasser was in his car when he fired the shots. Normand told the media the day after the shooting, “Everyone should pause and reflect and recognize that a rush to judgment does not equal anything. The easiest thing for me would have been, ‘Book ’em, Danno.’ But the fact of the matter is in trying to flesh out these details … we chose not to do that.”
While Fox New Orleans reports, citing witnesses, that McKnight was “pulled from” his Audi by the suspect prior to the shooting. The New Orleans Advocate quotes a witness saying that she heard four shots in total.
Fox New Orleans reports that Gasser was taken into custody at the scene. The station adds that he turned his gun over to authorities when they arrived. He was driving a blue Infinity sedan at the time of the shooting.
2. His Sister Said Gasser Is ‘the Best Guy, the Most Generous Guy’
Speaking to NOLA, Gasser’s sister, Sharon Weileman said of the suspect, “He’s the best guy, the most generous guy. I have no idea what happened. I can’t even talk right now.” While his daughter, Candice Gasser-Bua, said, “I’m speechless at the moment. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened.”
3. Gasser Has No Criminal Record in New Orleans
New Orleans attorney CJ Mordock tweeted that Gasser has no criminal record in Louisiana. Mordock later posted, “The sentence in LA for 2nd-degree murder is life. Any hate crime enhancement is an additional 5 years to run consecutive.”
Online records show that Gasser lived in Gretna, Louisiana. A neighbor told NOLA that the suspect “seemed to be a loner. I never saw anyone else coming or going out of there.”
According to his LinkedIn page, Ronald Gasser was educated at the Naval Air Technical Training Center. The page also says that Gasser has been the owner of LAN-TEL, a telecommunications consultancy business, since January 1996. Gasser is also listed as the owner of Go Live Installs, a plumbing company.
4. At the Time of His Death, McKnight’s Stepfather Said the RB Was About to be Signed by Minnesota
McKnight’s stepfather, Elmo Lee, told Fox New Orleans that the slain player had been about to sign for the Minnesota Vikings.
At the scene of the shooting, McKnight’s cousin, Roxanne Lundy, told NOLA, “He didn’t deserve it. He was a good guy, it was 100 percent unnecessary.”
5. There’s Been an Outpouring of Emotion on Twitter as NFL Stars Mourn McKnight
As news of the shooting filtered through to the NFL world, stars from the sport were lining up to pay tribute on Twitter. Here are some of the most poignant tributes: