KENNER, La. (WGNO) – “My brother would never lay a hand on nobody. Even when he was going through problems, he would never hurt nobody.”
Jonathan McKnight, the brother of Joe McKnight, talked one-on-one with WGNO Sports Director Ed Daniels this afternoon about his brother’s death.
Joe 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, was shot and killed at a busy intersection in Terrytown Thursday afternoon.
His shooter, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, admitted to killing McKnight. Gasser was questioned by deputies and released overnight without being arrested. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has said it will be up to the District Attorney’s Office to charge Gasser with a crime.
Joe McKnight was shot three times, once in the finger, once in the shoulder and once directly under his nipple. Bullets punctured his lung and went through his liver. The sheriff's office has declined to say whether it was a road rage shooting.
“Right now, we’re just trying to get through this as a family,” Jonathan McKnight said. “I gotta to be strong for my mom and my sister. I lost my big brother, and that was my only big brother. It's hard right now.”
Jonathan McKnight said his brother had been back in town for about a month since returning from Canada. Joe McKnight was excited because he had been in contact with the Minnesota Vikings about working out with the team, he said.
“I didn’t believe it,” Jonathan McKnight said when asked about his reaction to his brother’s death. “Joe … was getting everything together. It just happened out of nowhere. That’s why it hurts so bad for us.”
Jonathan McKnight was a freshman at John Curtis when his brother Joe was a senior. They were on the football team together for one year.
Joe McKnight went on to play for the University of Southern California, while Jonathan McKnight later played football for the University of Arizona. Their sister, Johanna McKnight, played basketball for the University of Richmond.
“My family was never brought up in the streets, we was always doing the right thing,” Jonathan McKnight said. “My family put us on the right path. It’s going to be hard for a long time, just not seeing his face. We never lived that kind of life.”
Jonathan McKnight said his brother was either going to work or leaving work when the shooting happened Thursday afternoon. He said his brother was working at a mental health facility to earn some extra money until his visit with the Vikings.
“My mom lost a son, I lost a brother, my sister lost a brother, it’s hard for us,” Jonathan McKnight said. “None of it is sitting well. I lost a friend, my everything.”