We say this, why?
The man who shot and killed Joe McKnight was cited a decade ago after a road rage incident in which he allegedly beat a man at a gas station on the same intersection where he shot McKnight on Thursday, authorities said.
Ronald Gasser was issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery in the Feb. 20, 2006 incident, after a man said Gasser attacked him and beat him with his fists, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said. The charge was ultimately dismissed, but will be reviewed again now, JPSO said in a press release.
And here’s the press release the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office put out…
“Sheriff Newell Normand reports, Gasser was involved in an incident on February 20, 2006, around 3:30 PM that began on Holiday Drive in New Orleans and ended in the service station at the intersection of Holmes Blvd. and Berhman Hwy., in Terrytown. During this incident, the victim/reporting person, identified only as a 51-year-old white male from Marrero, called 911 in Jefferson Parish to report that a male subject was driving a red pick-up truck unsafely on Holiday Drive. The victim observed a phone number on the truck to call if the vehicle was being operated unsafely. When the victim called the phone number, an individual, later identified as Ronald Gasser told the victim he was the one driving the red pick up truck. A verbal altercation began between the victim and Gasser began at that time. Once the victim reached the service station, he pulled in to begin refueling his vehicle. It was at that time Gasser, who had followed him into the station, confronted him and began to strike him with a closed fist several times. After doing so, the victim reported Gasser drove out of the service station, at which time he called 911.
Investigators at a later date located Mr. Gasser, at which time he was issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery. The charge of simple battery was ultimately dismissed. We will continue to research this matter in order to determine the reason for the dismissal. Once we are able to determine same, we will report the outcome of our review.”
So here’s the question – JPSO took Gasser in after the McKnight shooting, and you would have to think they would have checked his priors. A road rage incident at the exact same street corner wouldn’t immediately come up?
And you release him without charges on that history? Certainly the witness reports Normand relied on earlier Friday made it plausible that the shooting was in self-defense, but the prior incident would indicate an awfully quick trigger finger – and that’s going to factor prominently in the criticism Normand has coming.
It’s going to get interesting from here on in, and it’s going to get even more interesting for Normand to explain how Gasser hasn’t been charged in the McKnight case if race isn’t involved.
We’d be willing to bet Gasser is booked back into jail within 24 hours. He might even be safer there than at his house. Certainly Normand might be better off with Gasser there given the mess this case has already become.