Former NFL and USC player Joe McKnight was remembered by family and friends Thursday (Dec. 1) after a road rage incident just 20 minutes outside of New Orleans turned fatal.
NOLA reports the shooting happened just before 3 p.m. between Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard in Terrytown, Louisiana. McKnight fell victim to a road rage incident with known suspect Ronald Gasser. An unidentified witness claims she saw the suspect screaming at McKnight, who was trying to apologize.
Gasser, who was driving an Infiniti sedan, allegedly pulled McKnight, who was driving an Audi, from his car. After the incident had escalated from verbal to physical, the witness said the suspect shot McKnight, stood over him and said, “I told you don’t you f*** with me.” and fired another bullet.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand told reporters EMS arrived on the scene and gave McKnight CPR. Gasser was taken into police custody and is currently being questioned. McKnight was not armed.
McKnight’s football career was widely celebrated as he was hailed the next Reggie Bush. After being recruited for the USC Trojans thanks to his glowing record at John Curtis Christian High School, he went on to play for the New York Jets in 2010. A series of injuries lead him to a position with the Kansas City Chiefs. After suffering from a torn Achilles’ tendon, he ended up at CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders this past fall.
In a statement to TMZ Sports, the Jets paid the respects to McKnight. “Joe McKnight was a loving father and a genuine, kind-hearted person,” the statement reads. “It is sad when life is taken in what appears to be such a senseless act of violence. Joe, you will be missed.” Roughriders CEO and president Craig Reynolds also issued a statement saying, “We are saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Joe McKnight. Losing a member of our Rider family this way is an unthinkable occurrence. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family, teammates and coaches.”
Family members who rushed to the scene said McKnight was on his way to returning to the NFL and wanted the mainstream media to know he wasn’t troubled.
— Jonathan Bullington (@jrbullington) December 1, 2016
Former teammates and members of the NFL community also paid their condolences to McKnight on social media.
RIP to a SC legend ! Joe McKnight ?? https://t.co/7pa3iaaBGN
— Adoree' Jackson (@AdoreeKnows) December 1, 2016
Just got a message saying my former teammate Joe McKnight was killed today. This hurt to the heart. I can't stop crying. #RestInPeace
— ANTONIO CROMARTIE (@CRO31) December 1, 2016
Damn RIP Joe McKnight. Killed in his own city, #504Boys4Life
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) December 1, 2016
Deeply saddened by the loss of Joe McKnight. This is a terrible tragedy. Everyone loved Joe and we are going to really miss him.
— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) December 2, 2016
RIP my brother Joe McKnight this one hurts bad
— Reggie Bush (@ReggieBush) December 1, 2016
Rest in peace, Joe McKnight.
Our thoughts and condolences are with his loved ones. pic.twitter.com/vtEihPomt9
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 1, 2016
Bystanders who recorded EMS’ attempt to save McKnight were in shock. “It could have been any one of us,” a woman was heard saying. McKnight was just 28-years old.