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Man who killed ex-Jets player Joe McKnight in road rage incident charged with manslaughter

By Meg Wagner,

The Louisiana driver who shot and killed former New York Jets player Joe McKnight has been booked for manslaughter — after he went without charges immediately after the road rage shooting.

Ronald Gasser was arrested on one count on manslaughter, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced Tuesday morning, during an emotional, rant-filled press conference where he scolded protestors who demanded an earlier arrest.

Ronald Gasser was arrested on manslaughter charges for the fatal shooting of Joe McKnight.
Ronald Gasser was arrested on manslaughter charges for the fatal shooting of Joe McKnight.

Gasser, 54, was questioned but not charged after the Thursday shooting, sparking outrage in Louisiana and across the country. On Tuesday, Normand defended his office’s move to charge Gasser later rather than sooner.

“Justice has no time period,” he said. “Justice is not a sprint. It is a marathon. These investigators are marathons.”

Then, Normand cut into his critics.

“If people don’t think that we know what we’re doing strategically: Tough. I don’t care,” Normand said. “I can put my head on the pillow every night knowing that we did the right thing for the right reasons.”

Activists who believed police were not acting fast enough lashed out at anyone who encouraged the public to give investigators time and not jump to conclusions, including several lawmakers and pastors who asked for pause, Normed said. He blamed those protestors for “tearing” the community apart.

“We collectively should be ashamed of ourselves,” he barked, slamming his hand on the podium. “It’s not about the right thing; It’s not about justice and it’s not about the process. It’s about what we want, and what we want now. And we don’t care who we disparage in the process.”

He went on to read profane online threats made against the politicians and leaders who spoke in support of police’s extended investigation.

“That’s the tone of what we’re calling our elected leaders?” he asked after rattling off the obscene comments. “Really? And the tone of these go on and on and on and on and on and all we simply asked for was let them do their jobs.”

Normand defend the Tuesday arrest, saying that more witnesses came forward over the weekend — people who likely would not have gone to police if they knew a suspect was already in custody — and their accounts helped prosecutors build a strong case against Gasser.

“Our arrest is only as good as the prosecution,” he said. “We accomplish nothing if we make an arrested and we can’t put ourselves in the best posture … to reach a successful prosecution.”

McKnight was shot and killed Thursday afternoon outside of his car in Terrytown, a suburb of New Orleans, after he and Gasser got into a fight while they were driving, police said.


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