NEW ORLEANS -- Former NFL football player Joe McKnight was shot and killed following some type of auto-involved incident Thursday afternoon in Terrytown, John Curtis Christian High School football coach J.T. Curtis told CBS affiliate WWL.
McKnight’s death was confirmed by Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand. The suspect in the case was identified as 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, who stayed on the scene and was taken into custody. He was being questioned.
“Mr. Gasser did in fact shoot Mr. McKnight. We will be releasing additional details as we get through these interviews with these witnesses,” said Normand. “Mr. McKnight did not have a gun in his possession.” Normand said neither McKnight nor Gasser’s car had been searched.
“Our officers arrived on the scene and immediately began administering CPR,” said Normand.
“It’s horrible,” said J.T. Curtis, the head coach, who had McKnight live with him shortly after Katrina when he lacked a place to stay. Curtis was heading to the McKnight home to meet with his family.The incident happened about 3 p.m. near Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard, just across the Orleans and Jefferson Parish line.
McKnight starred at John Curtis as a receiver and return man who played on the school’s national championship team in the mid 2000s.
McKnight was the nation’s top-ranked running back in 2007 coming out of John Curtis High School in New Orleans and committed to USC, where he played for three years and rushed for 2,214 yards and 13 touchdowns before declaring for the NFL Draft after his junior year, CBS Sports reports.
The talented back was taken in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, where he played for three years and served as the team’s top kick returner in 2011 and 2012. McKnight was out of the NFL for a year before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014; however, an Achilles injury forced him away from the field.
In his four years in the NFL, McKnight had 113 carries for 505 yards, 23 receptions for 241 yards and two touchdowns along with 2,270 kickoff return yards and two touchdowns.
McKnight returned to football in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2015 and was playing the 2016 season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.