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  • 15 May
    HARVEY, La. -- The shooting death of an ex-NFL player in a New Orleans suburb was a road rage incident that began on a nearby bridge, a sheriff said Friday, as he urged against a rush to judgment and defended his handling of the case.Joe McKnight was shot Thursday afternoon in Terrytown, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Authorities identified 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, who stayed at the scene, as the shooter and released him overnight, sparking criticism.At a news conference Friday, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the altercation that ended with McKnights death started on a nearby bridge -- possibly when one of the two men cut the other off -- and then proceeded into streets of the New Orleans suburb. He didnt say which driver cut off the other.Authorities said Gasser shot McKnight three times from inside his car with a semi-automatic handgun while McKnight was standing outside. Witnesses reported the two had been in a heated argument, the sheriff said.Normand defended his handling of the case, saying the investigation was ongoing. No charges have been filed. Some protesters upset at Gassers release gathered outside the sheriffs office earlier Friday.Speaking of Gassers release, the sheriff said the state has certain statutes that provide a defense to certain crimes but did not go into further detail.The easiest thing for me would have been `Book him, Danno. Right? Normand said, referring to the police saying made popular on Hawaii Five-0. But Normand urged caution.Mr. Gasser is not going anywhere. He has been completely cooperative with us in every request we have made, he said. We will do a very through and deliberate investigation.But news late Friday that Gasser was involved in a similar altercation with a driver a decade ago will likely raise further questions about who was the aggressor.Normand said in a press release late Friday that in February 2006, Gasser chased down and beat another driver in what appeared to be the same intersection where McKnight was shot and killed Thursday.In the 2006 incident, a man observed a truck driving erratically and called a number on the truck, speaking to a man later identified as Gasser. Gasser and the man got into a fight on the phone and then Gasser followed the man to a service station, confronted him and hit him several times. Gasser drove away and the victim called 911.Investigators found Gasser and issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery, which was later dismissed. Authorities said they are trying to determine why it was dismissed.Normand earlier Friday didnt go into details from the investigation, saying he didnt want to taint any prospective witnesses that might still come forward.But he did reject a number of accounts in local media speculating about the shooting. In particular, Normand said there was no video of the incident and that Gasser did not stand over McKnight and fire shots into him.Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich backed that up, saying Knights three wounds were not consistent with being shot from above.McKnights grandmother said family members are still seeking information about the players death and why Gasser was released.Barbara Franklin told The Associated Press relatives are trying to find out our own selves just what happened. Of Gasser, she said by phone, He might be released now, but God is going to bring about justice in it.McKnight is the second former NFL player this year to die in the New Orleans area in an apparent road rage incident. Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was killed in a shooting last April sparked by a traffic altercation.Normand said no gun was found outside either vehicle. A sheriffs office spokesman, Col. John Fortunato, said authorities are searching both vehicles. Fortunato said McKnight didnt have a weapon on his person or near his body when found.Gasser couldnt immediately be reached by The Associated Press.His release raised questions about what exactly led to the shooting. Arthur A. Lemmann, a New Orleans-based attorney not connected to the case, cautioned that it was too early to tell but it could indicate Gasser says he acted in self-defense.Its not the end of the matter ... but what it indicates to me is that there was some basis to believe that the homicide was justified. And the most typical justification of a homicide is self-defense, Lemmann said.McKnight played three seasons for the New York Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent this season in the Canadian Football League.McKnight was considered the nations No. 1 running back recruit when he came out of Louisiana in 2006 and signed with the University of Southern California. He was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round in 2010.In a mostly somber New York Jets locker room, former teammates remembered McKnight. Only a handful of players remain from those New York teams, but the impact McKnight left was clear.In my rookie year, he was like the first guy who actually talked to me here, said quarterback Geno Smith, who was drafted in 2013. Joe was cool, man. He was funny. Just a real laid-back guy, always kept you laughing and always a smile on his face.A few veteran players declined to comment in the locker room because they were so upset by the news, but later issued statements through the team.My memories from him are working hard, cornerback Darrelle Revis said. He came in his rookie year and it was a little rocky for him trying to learn the system. And then his second year, he took off as an explosive kick returner and he won us numerous games.---Associated Press reporters Jeff Amy in Jackson, Mississippi, and Dennis Waszak Jr. in Florham Park, New Jersey contributed to this report.---Follow Rebecca Santana on Twitter (at)ruskygal. Basketball Shoes Outlet . 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The England striker, who resumed training after a month out, has been hit by a number of injuries since joining the Hammers in 2012 and has registered just seven Premier League starts this season.But manager Slaven Bilic has revealed the 27-year-old is likely to be included in the squad to face Saints, live on Sky Sports. Andy Carroll is back, hes been training with us since Monday, said Bilic. We are going to see on Thursday and Friday but he should be involved.Carroll could be joined at St Marys by January signing Emmanuel Emenike, the Nigerian striker who arrived on loan from Fenerbahce.Emenike sat out Tuesdays 2-0 home win over Aston Villa but has since received the work permit required to join up with the squad.We will see about Emmanuel, added Bilic. He is going to train with us for the first time. Hes naturally fit, but I would like to see him. Slaven Bilic says Emmanuel Emenike is a strong, quick, direct goalscorer The Hammers are on course to challenge their best ever Premier League finish of fifth, a feat they achieved in the 1998-99 season.ddddddddddddBilics men are only six points off fourth-placed Arsenal after 24 games and their impressive form has raised hopes that the club could qualify for next seasons Champions League or Europa League. We are fit, we are good, we are collecting points and I hope we are going to continue like this. Slaven Bilic We are good, we are consistent, I would like us to be more consistent. Of course there is always room for improvement but we are very confident, Bilic said.We have 14 games to play, which is a lot, but we are fit, we are good, we are collecting points and I hope we are going to continue like this.We shouldnt be looking at the table at the moment, all we can influence is our performances so thats what well concentrate on. Bilic has been pleased with West Hams consistent displays West Ham face a Southampton side who won three games in a row prior to their hard-fought goalless draw at Arsenal on Tuesday.Yes, they have been unpredictable at times, but they are playing good, especially recently. They are a good side, they like to play football, added Bilic.They have great individuals and great pace on the counter-attack, so I am expecting a very, very tough game and a very good game on Saturday. Also See: West Ham video West Ham fixtures West Ham stats Get £10 free bet ' ' '