Sheriff Newell Normand says he’s pleased with Ronald Gasser indictment

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Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand speaks at a press conference Thursday, Feb. 2.

HARVEY, La. (WGNO) – Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said he’s pleased with the upgraded charges for Ronald Gasser, the man who shot and killed former NFL player Joe McKnight.

Gasser, 55, shot and killed McKnight, 28, a former John Curtis Christian High School standout and ex-NFL player who most recently played for two teams in the Canadian Football League, in an apparent road rage incident Dec. 1.

Normand’s office and other elected officials took a lot of heat when Gasser wasn’t immediately jailed following the shooting. Gasser remained on scene after the shooting and relinquished his weapon to authorities. He was questioned by detectives and released overnight following the shooting.

Deputies arrested Gasser a few days later on manslaughter charges, but a grand jury indicted Gasser today on an upgraded charge of second-degree murder. His bond has been raised to $750,000.

“I told everybody, wait, the process has to take the course it goes,” Normand said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. “What the evidence reveals, what the evidence suggests, what the evidence is, and that’s what happened in the presentation to the grand jury.

“When we ultimately charged at that time with manslaughter we had access to certain things, then we had access to other things,” Normand continued. “Our arrests are only as good as their prosecutions. Us working hand and glove with DA’s office is not a new revelation.”

Asked whether McKnight was reaching into Gasser’s car when he was shot, as claimed by Gasser’s lawyer, Normand said “I’m not going to confirm or deny that.”

“We have a long criminal process we have to go through,” Normand said.

Joe McKnight’s family is in California today and had not heard about the indictment before WGNO called them.

Jonathan McKnight said his family was relieved and pleased with the upgraded charges.