Former football star Joe McKnight was shot and killed from shots fired from inside of Ronald Gasser's car and reports that he stood over McKnight and fired shots into his body are untrue, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said Friday.
Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said McKnight was shot once to the hand, once to the shoulder that punctured his lung and once right below his 'right nipple' that entered his chest, went through his kidney and liver and exited from there. "They are not consistent with being shot from above."
Normand also said he wanted to dispel 'social media' reports that a witness said McKnight apologized to Gasser. "We have no account of an apology being made," he said. "That did not occur."
Normand said he wouldn't share most of the details of the case, nor anything that Mr. Gasser told investigators out of an 'abundance of caution' and so as not to possibly taint witnesses to whom they have not spoken to.
"A rush to judgment does not equal anything," Normand said. "In fact, in the criminal justice process, if you don't dot every 'I' and cross every 't' and there are deficiencies, it has dire consequences. Out of respect to the decedent and the individual who shot and killed Mr. McKnight, that's the way it has to be."
A news released from the sheriff's office stated that prior to the shooting, both vehicles were on Behrman Highway, parallel to one another. Preliminary accounts from witnesses and the shooter suggested that the events were the culmination of a road rage incident.
The witnesses told the sheriff's office that the two men were in a heated verbal exchange followed by the sounds of gunfire. After the shooting, witnesses told investigators that Gasser was at the rear of the vehicles with a gun in his hand. McKnight was on the pavement between both vehicles. Eventually he was moved to the back of the vehicles where a civilian performed CPR. Gasser stayed on the scene and waited for responding deputies.
Normand said he wouldn't be influenced by 'outside forces' and noted the racial angle to the incident.
"This isn't about race," Normand emphasized. "In fact, the man who raised Joe McKnight Jr. used to work for this office."
He said anyone wishing to protest peacefully could do so, but that anyone trying to interfere with public safety would be arrested. Normand specifically cited some protesters, apparently associated with the NAACP press briefing held at noon, who asked to be allowed to block parts of the West Bank Expressway.
"That will not happen," said Normand.