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Ronald Gasser charged with manslaughter in National Football League player Joe McKnight's shooting

07 December 2016
Ronald Gasser charged with manslaughter in National Football League player Joe McKnight's shooting

The Louisiana sheriff overseeing the case of a gunman accused of fatally shooting ex-NFL running back Joe McKnight announced manslaughter charges Tuesday - and then lashed out at the community for its response to the killing. He was initially taken into custody after the shooting last Thursday but he was released without being charged pending further investigation.

In the Thursday incident, Gasser shot three rounds from a.40 caliber semiautomatic handgun from the driver's seat of his vehicle through the open passenger window, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said in a news conference Friday.

"This isn't about race. Not a single witness has said. one racial slur was uttered", the sheriff said. While this case doesn't involve a police shooting, it has flared temperatures and drawn protests at the sheriff's department.

The sheriff said that officials had 10 hours of non-custodial interviews and two hours of custodial interviews with Gasser, who didn't ask for an attorney. They have conducted over 160 interviews, he said. Normand this morning conveyed more information about the shooting Thursday afternoon in Terrytown, Louisiana, located about 5 miles south of New Orleans across the Mississippi River, that killed McKnight, 28. Mcknight, we should say, was unarmed, and Gasser, he waited on the scene for the police to show up. Gasser pulled his weapon from his seat and fired three times, killing McKnight at the scene, Normand added.

McKnight did not have a gun, deputies said. It was his stepfather's gun, and his stepfather's vehicle.

The sheriff devoted more time in his Tuesday news conference to defending his investigation and deriding its critics than he did to details of the case.

"We have sometimes unrealistic expectations of how these things work. you don't just run out and start slapping cuffs on people", Normand said.

"Last Thursday, we had a statement by Mr. Gasser", he said. Gasser was inside of his vehicle when he opened fire, Normand said.

"Let's not try to make this out to be something that it is not".

As for the case itself, Normand made it clear this was about "two adult males engaged in unacceptable behavior".

The extra time allowed investigators to dispel bogus witness statements, including accounts that Gasser shot through McKnight's windshield, pulled McKnight out of his Audi, shot McKnight while he was on the ground, used the N-word and boasted that he had voted for President-elect Donald Trump.

Louisiana's law holds that people don't have a duty to retreat and can "meet force with force" if they reasonably believe that using deadly force is necessary. And on the political side of the death, you know, these past four days have been confusing about why someone who admittedly killed someone else would get to go home that same night when, you know, McKnight went home in a body bag. He sat out 2013, played 2014 with the Chiefs and 2015 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Hayes, who is black, could face life in prison if he's found guilty of this murder.

The two began to confront each other verbally while still in their vehicles and the two began to drive erratically, cutting each other off as they drove through the suburban New Orleans town.