Ex-US Football Player Killed in Shooting

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The Daily News of Los Angeles


Former USC running back Joe McKnight died Thursday afternoon in a shooting in Terrytown, Louisiana, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's office. McKnight was 28.

McKnight, who played for the Trojans for three seasons, had four seasons in the NFL and played in the Canadian Football League this fall, was shot and killed at 2:43 p.m. local time at the intersection at Berman Highway and Holmes Boulevard in Terrytown, a New Orleans suburb near his hometown of River Ridge. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A police spokesman described it as a possible road rage incident. A suspect, Ronald Gasser, 54, was later taken into custody for questioning by detectives.

The New Orleans Times Picayune reported an account from a eyewitness who was at the intersection. The witness, who did not provide a name, told the newspaper that one man was yelling at a second man, who was trying to apologize during the argument. Then he fired his weapon and stood over the second man. "I told you don't you %@$& with me," he reportedly said before shooting at him again.

It was not said what started the incident.

The USC athletic department wrote on its Twitter account: "#FightOnForever Joe McKnight."

Pete Carroll, McKnight's coach at USC, tweeted, "Deeply saddened by the loss of Joe McKnight. This is a terrible tragedy. Everyone loved Joe and we are going to really miss him."

McKnight was with the Trojans from 2007-09. He ran for 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior before he bypassed his senior season to enter the NFL draft. He had missed the final game in 2009, a win over Boston College in the Emerald Bowl, while ineligible. The school was investigating potential NCAA rules violations.

He amassed 2,213 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 66 passes in his college career for 542 yards and two touchdowns.

McKnight went to John Curtis Christian High School in River Ridge before he arrived at USC as a celebrated five-star recruit, billed the next Reggie Bush for his smooth running style and ability to elude potential tacklers.

But he failed to match the hype and the comparisons to Bush, who won the Heisman Trophy two years before McKnight arrived on campus, a struggle he discussed during his college years.

"It's not the fans' fault, they just want success for their team," McKnight said. "It took me a while to get that out of my head."

The New York Jets selected McKnight in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He spent three seasons with New York, rushing for 502 yards in 39 games. He started once as a rookie.

His final NFL season was in 2014 when he appeared in two games for the Kansas City Chiefs before he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. He was cut before the 2015 season.

McKnight played in the Canadian Football League, including a stint with the Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders this fall.

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December 2, 2016


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