Former USC standout and fourth-round NFL draft pick Joe McKnight was shot and killed at just 28 years old after an altercation at an intersection Thursday afternoon, per NOLA.com.
According to a new report from the Advocate, the man who authorities say shot and killed McKnight, Ronald Gasser, was accused of chasing down and punching a man following another road rage incident.
In 2006, a man called 911 to report another man driving unsafely. He then called a phone number on the vehicle that motorists could call to report unsafe driving. It was Gasser who picked up when the man called, an argument reportedly ensued and the man pulled off the road to refuel.
According to the report, Gasser followed the man, confronted him, then struck him “several times” with a closed fist. Gasser then left and the man called 911. Gasser was given a summons for simple battery, but the charge was dismissed.
McKnight was reportedly shot near the same gas station earlier in the week as he stood near the passenger side window and Gasser sat in his vehicle, per the report.
Gasser was taken into custody and eventually released. The incident follows the “stand your ground law” in Louisiana states, “A homicide is justifiable . . . [w]hen committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger,” per Pro Football Talk.
A prior report detailed Gasser fired a shot at McKnight, then stood over him and said, “I told you not to f*** with me,” and fired another shot. According to Sheriff Newell Normand, Gasser did not exit his car. He also opposed any witness recollection that included McKnight apologizing before being shot, which was detailed in the initial report.
As for what started the road rage incident, Sheriff Normand mentioned he believed one person cut the other off.
McKnight played three seasons at USC, registering 2,213 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also had 542 yards receiving over his career and two touchdowns through the air.
McKnight played four years in the NFL. He was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Jets, where he played four three seasons. He last appeared in the NFL in 2014 with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He was still working on his football career, appearing on two Canadian Football League teams earlier this season.
The shooting death comes months after former New Orleans Saints standout Will Smith was shot and killed in a vehicle altercation as well.
Detectives reportedly reviewed surveillance video released by FOX 8 News in New Orleans, which appears to show former Pro Bowler Will Smith’s vehicle striking Cardell Hayes’ Hummer prior to the road-rage shooting that killed the former New Orleans Saints defender.
“Prior to the actions that led to Mr. Smith’s death, my client was involved in a hit-and-run. Someone hit him. The person failed to pull over,” Hayes’ attorney, John Fuller said, per CBS. “My client trailed behind this person in an effort to get their license plate number. My client also called 9-1-1.”
Attorneys for Hayes have maintained he shot Will Smith in self-defense as well.
Three guns were reportedly recovered from the scene, including two from Hayes and a loaded handgun from Will Smith’s vehicle (police maintain there is no indication that the former Pro Bowler fired the gun).
Will Smith’s wife, Racquel Smith, was shot in the leg and treated for her injuries, while Will Smith was shot in the back and side following a reported road-rage incident and died shortly thereafter, according to the USA Today.