TERRYTOWN, La. (WGNO) – Ronald Gasser, the man who shot and killed Joe McKnight Thursday afternoon, was arrested in 2006 for an altercation at the same Terrytown intersection where Gasser shot McKnight this week.
McKnight, 28, was a former John Curtis Christian High School standout and ex-NFL player who most recently played for two teams in the Canadian Football League. Gasser admitted to shooting and killing McKnight at the intersection of Holmes Boulevard and Behrman Highway.
Gasser was taken into custody and questioned, but released several hours later without any charges. His release has prompted widespread protest from community members seeking justice for McKnight.
At a press conference this afternoon, a reporter asked Sheriff Newell Normand if Gasser had an arrest record. The sheriff said he might have had one arrest 10 years ago, but did not provide any details about the arrest.
The Sheriff’s Office on Friday night released details of Gasser’s arrest. According to JPSO, on Feb. 20, 2006, a man told deputies that he had been attacked at a gas station at Holmes Boulevard and Behrman Highway. He said he observed a red truck driving unsafely on Holiday Drive. He called the number on the truck to report that the vehicle was not driving safely, and when he did, Gasser answered the phone and said he was the person driving the truck.
Gasser and the victim had a verbal altercation over the phone. When the victim pulled into a gas station to refuel his vehicle, Gasser, who had followed him to the gas station, confronted him and punched the victim several times and then left the gas station. Gasser was issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery, but the charge was later dismissed.
“We will continue to research this matter in order to determine the reason for the dismissal,” Col. John Fortunato said in a news release. “Once we are able to determine same, we will report the outcome of our review.”
Normand has said it will be up to the District Attorney’s Office to file charges against Gasser.