Realty One

Friday, December 2, 2016


Saskatchewan Roughriders running back Joe McKnight has been shot to death following an argument at an intersection with another motorist.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the incident involving McKnight happened about 2:43 p.m. Thursday in Terrytown, a suburb of New Orleans.

The 28-year-old McKnight was standing outside his car when he was shot by Ronald Gasser, 54, Normand said during a news conference at the scene of the shooting.

"The only thing we know right now, everything else is conjecture, is that Mr. Gasser did in fact shoot Mr. McKnight,'' Normand said.

McKnight was signed to Saskatchewan's practice roster on Sept. 26, and he ran for 150 yards in his first CFL start on Oct. 15 as the Roughriders beat Toronto 29-11.

"We are shocked to hear the news of Joe's sudden passing,'' Roughriders general manager and head coach Chris Jones said in a statement. "We send our deepest sympathies to Joe's family, friends, and all those impacted by this tragedy.''

McKnight finished the 2016 season with 228 rushing yards and 80 receiving yards over five games with Edmonton and Saskatchewan.

"We are saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Joe McKnight,'' said Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds in a release. "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.''

He is the second CFL player to be shot to death this year after Stampeders defensive back Mylan Hicks was killed outside a Calgary nightclub in September.

"On behalf of our Board of Governors and the entire CFL family, I'd like to convey my deepest sympathies to all those close to Joe McKnight, especially his loved ones and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the Saskatchewan Roughriders' organization at this difficult time,'' CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said in a statement.

McKnight, who played for the NFL's New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs before moving to the CFL, is also the second former NFL player this year to die in the New Orleans area as a result of a possible road-rage incident. Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was killed in April in a shooting that was sparked over a traffic altercation.

Norman said investigators have Gasser in custody and he's being questioned, along with a number of witnesses. Col. John Fortunato, a sheriff's office spokesman, said they anticipate charging Gasser, but with what has not yet been determined.

"We will release additional details when we get through with the interviews,'' Normand said.

Normand said Gasser, whose hometown was not immediately released, stayed at the scene and relinquished his weapon to responding officers.

The sheriff said he did not know where the incident started, but noted that McKnight was standing outside his vehicle when he was shot. He did not release any details on the number of times McKnight was shot, saying the coroner's office would do so.

Normand said no gun was found outside either vehicle, but they had not searched the cars and won't do so until a search warrant has been obtained.

McKnight was considered the No. 1 running back recruit in the country when he came out of John Curtis Christian School in Louisiana in 2006 and signed with the University of Southern California, where he played under Pete Carroll. With his running and catching skills, McKnight was often compared to do-it-all running back Reggie Bush, a USC star who was the No. 2 overall pick by New Orleans in the 2006 draft.

Bush took to Twitter to offer his condolences: "RIP my brother Joe McKnight,'' he posted, "this one hurts bad.''

"For a life to be lost so senselessly is just beyond description,'' said JT Curtis, McKnight's high school coach, who's been head coach there for nearly five decades. "Right now it's pretty devastating.''

"He was just a good kid,'' the coach added.

After a sometimes-spectacular college career in which he ran for 2,213 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 66 passes for 542 yards and two scores in three seasons, McKnight was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round in 2010.

His NFL career got off to a shaky start, marked by his first rookie camp practice in which he dropped a few passes, had both calves cramp up and later vomited on the side of the field because of nerves and lack of conditioning. McKnight saw limited action as a rookie, but started the regular-season finale and rushed for 158 yards on 32 carries.

McKnight assumed the role as the Jets' primary kick returner in 2011, and led the NFL with a 31.6 yard kickoff return average that season. That included a franchise-record 107-yarder in 2011 against Baltimore that also stands as the team's longest play.

He was released by the Jets as part of their final cuts after training camp in 2013 and spent that season out of football. McKnight signed with Kansas City in January 2014 and had two touchdown catches in a game for the Chiefs early that season before tearing his Achilles tendon during a practice and missing the rest of the year.

Several of McKnight's former teammates and friends took to social media to express shock and sadness at the news, and to offer condolences to his family.

The Jets posted a photo of McKnight with the words "Joe McKnight 1988-2016'' on it on their official Twitter account. "Rest in peace, Joe McKnight,'' the team said. "Our thoughts and condolences are with his loved ones.''

Former Jets teammate Antonio Cromartie wrote on Twitter: "Just got a message saying my former teammate Joe McKnight was killed today. This hurt to the heart. I can't stop crying.''


With files from the Canadian Press and Associated Press writers Rebecca Santana in New Orleans and Dennis Waszak in New York.


Curtis said...

Our heartfelt condolences to the McKnight family. This is just so sad

Anonymous said...

Another senseless death, condolences to the McKnight family.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely heartbreaking, our hearts go out to the McKnight family.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to the McKight family..tragic

Anonymous said...

RIP Joe McKnight, I feel terrible for this senseless road rage murder.

Dick Rubnutz said...

RIP Joe. Another young man gone too soon because of senseless violence

Anonymous said...

America and their guns. Very sad. My condolences.

Anonymous said...

Sincere sympathy to the McKnight family. Such a waste of a life.

Dave in Medicine Hat

Anonymous said...


So very sorry to hear of this tragic event. All our best to the Mcknight family.


Anonymous said...

Why does it seem as if it is always a Rider player ?????????

Anonymous said...

what a moronic reply.It's not what is in a persons hands that make a person evil it is what's in his heart that makes him evil. People with no compassion for others...animals in nature.

Anonymous said...

Such a stupid senseless act. Killing someone because of an argument. What kind of person thinks that is an acceptable way to deal with a situation. A young man with a bright future gone because someone is mad. I just don't understand it at all. Condolences to his family, friends and the all the members of Rider Nation. Sad day for everyone!

willie said...

May You Rest In Peace Young Man.

Anonymous said...

When my husband first heard the news, his comment was "I bet the shooter was white". Unfortunately, he was right.

This is not acceptable in my world.


Anonymous said...

Senseless act, and this is not just something that happens in the States. It seems to be alright to be able to pull out a gun whenever a person gets angry. We are not immune in Canada . It could happen here and has. We have witnessed many angry drivers on the streets of Regina and with the congestion before and after Rider games there have been plenty of anger issues. Very disturbing news about Joe McKnight, prayers to his family.

Darcy said...

more guns, more guns, more guns, the american way
RIP Joe Mcknight

Anonymous said...

"a sheriff's office spokesman, said they anticipate charging Gasser, but with what has not yet been determined".

WHAT????? It's very simple, cut and dried, an unarmed man was shot down by an armed man over a road rage's a homicide pure and simple, other news reports say that Gasser stood over McKnight as he was down (already shot), said something to the effect of "I told you not to f**k with me", and then shot him again. Murder 1 plain and simple.

Deepest sympathies to Joe's family, friends and colleagues......

Anonymous said...

And the shooter has been released from police custody. Wtf

Tim from Kansas said...

People were excited about Joe when he was with Kansas City, he was definitely good enough. He just had tough luck with injury and the numbers game.

Regarding when shooting someone is justified, the bar is much lower down here. It took me a long time as a Canadian to understand. It has nothing to do with armed vs unarmed. It seems like if you feel threatened, for whatever reason, you can shoot that person and you're not going to be charged. They refer to it as the "stand your ground law". Google it if you want.

Road rage often ends badly. They have already release the shooter without charges, so sadly the law may be the shooter's side.

Very tragic and very sad. RIP Joe.