GRETNA – Sheriff Newell Normand announced the booking of Ronald Gasser in the shooting death of former NFL player Joe McKnight but spent the majority of his press conference scolding members of the public for behavior that he called shameful in the wake of the event.
Normand said investigators worked around the clock and interviewed 160 people, along with a close to 10-hour interview with Gasser following the shooting Thursday. He said the delay in arresting Gasser was part of a strategy to get more interviews without tainted witnesses and to try to give prosecutors a case they can win.
“The Stand Your Ground law gives us an obligation to get it right,” Normand said. “For those who have criticized us – tough, I don’t care. I can put my head on my pillow at night knowing I did the right thing.”
Watch the full press conference here: Facebook.com/WWLTV
Normand said that had he arrested Gasser Thursday, the day of the shooting, several witnesses who came forward may not have come forward, figuring the case was set. He said it would have weakened the case.
Following the initial statement though, Normand gave a lecture on how social media led the public to make demands and call names to anyone who asked for time to get the case correct.
Normand lauded some of Jefferson Parish’s black lawmakers and members of the clergy, who called for peace and restraint during the investigation and he said he was angered and saddened by some of the retribution those people received from the community. As he has been known to do, Normand used some of the raw language, including several epithets and obscene words as he read directly from at least one email.
When asked why he thought it was okay to read the epithets and obscenities, Normand said, “I hope it gets people to see how crazy we’ve become.”
When asked, Normand eventually recreated some of the events around the shooting that he knows.
Normand said there was an altercation at some point between the occupants of the cars as they approached the Crescent City Connection. He said the two men began chasing after each other, zipping around other vehicles and engaging in arguments.
After both made a right turn onto Behrman Highway, the two men continued to fly around other vehicles.
Mr. Gasser came to a stop near Behrman, and Holmes and Mr. McKnight pulled alongside. The two men began to argue while still in their respective cars, and at some point, McKnight got out of his car and came to the window of Mr. Gasser’s car and the argument continued. During the argument, Mr. Gasser retrieved his gun from the console area and fired three shots, striking McKnight.
Watch Normand's full press conference on our Facebook page: