Sheriff charges manslaughter in Louisiana death of ex-NFL player

Tue Dec 6, 2016 7:56pm EST
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By David Ingram

(Reuters) - A man suspected of fatally shooting former National Football League player Joe McKnight in a road rage incident near New Orleans has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, a Louisiana sheriff said on Tuesday.

Ronald Gasser, 54, was charged with one count of manslaughter, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said at a news conference during which he criticized both men for "bad driving behavior and bad spoken words."

The investigation was continuing, Normand said, leaving open the possibility of a charge such as murder or a lighter one depending on evidence.

A sheriff's office spokesman, Glen Boyd, said in an email that he did not know if Gasser had an attorney. Gasser's bond was set at $500,000, according to jail records.

Gasser was initially taken into custody after the shooting on Thursday afternoon but released on Friday without charge, angering some members of the community, while the sheriff's office continued its investigation.

McKnight, 28, was pronounced dead at a traffic intersection in Terrytown, after suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

McKnight was a running back for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs from 2010 through 2014. He had played for the Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League this year.

The investigation was delayed because witnesses were reluctant to come forward, Normand said, adding that social media had been used to spread false information and intimidate people.   Continued...

Sep 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Joe McKnight (22) scores a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the game at Sun Life Stadium.  Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports