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Sheriff charges manslaughter in Louisiana death of ex-NFL player McKnight

By David Ingram

By David Ingram

(Reuters) - A man suspected of fatally shooting former National Football League player Joe McKnight in a road rage incident near New Orleans has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, a Louisiana sheriff said on Tuesday.

Ronald Gasser, 54, was charged with one count of manslaughter, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said at a news conference during which he criticized both men for "bad driving behavior and bad spoken words."

Gasser was initially taken into custody after the shooting on Thursday afternoon and then released without charge, angering some members of the community, while the sheriff's office said it was continuing its investigation.

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McKnight, 28, was pronounced dead at a traffic intersection in Terrytown, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

McKnight was a running back for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs from 2010 through 2014. He had played for the Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League this year.

The investigation into the shooting was delayed because witnesses were reluctant to come forward, Normand said, adding that social media had been used to spread false information and intimidate people.

Gasser was interviewed by investigators for more than 10 hours, Normand said. The sheriff's office conducted more than 160 other interviews and found a key witness on Saturday, he said.

It was not immediately clear if Gasser had an attorney.

Leading up to the shooting, Gasser and McKnight shouted at each other and drove their vehicles erratically for several blocks before stopping at an intersection, Normand said.

McKnight then got out of his car and the two continued arguing until Gasser pulled a gun and shot McKnight three times, the sheriff said.

(Reporting by David Ingram in New York; Editing by W Simon and Bill Trott)

 
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