Joe McKnight, the once-electric USC running back who played four years in the NFL, has died after an argument at an intersection turned fatal, according to NOLA.com.
A haunting witness account in that article describes what led to the shooting of McKnight at about 3 p.m. Thursday.
“A witness, who declined to give her name, said she was leaving a store in the area when she saw a man at the intersection yelling at another man, who was trying to apologize,” reports Jonathan Bullington. The man who was yelling shot the other man more than once, she said.
“She said the shooter shot the man, stood over him and said ‘I told you don't you f--- with me.’ Then he fired again, she said.”
Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu was one of the first to publicize the news.
Damn RIP Joe McKnight. Killed in his own city, #504Boys4Life— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) December 1, 2016
New Orleans Advocate reporter Ramon Antonio Vargas confirmed the news with McKnight’s high school coach. McKnight died about 20 minutes from New Orleans.
John Curtis football coach JT Curtis tells me he understands that his former player, Joe McKnight, was killed in Terrytown this afternoon— Ramon Antonio Vargas (@RVargasAdvocate) December 1, 2016
Family and friends mourned McKnight's passing.
McKnight, a five-star recruit out of high school, was once the consensus top prospect in America. NOLA.com named him its Male High School Athlete of the Decade.
There was significant controversy surrounding his recruitment and whether USC followed the rules to bring him to Southern California. USC coach Pete Carroll chalked up the controversy to the jealousy of LSU fans who were disappointed McKnight had chosen the Trojans.
McKnight was hailed as “the next Reggie Bush,” and he had some good moments at USC, but his three-year college career was marred by repeated controversies and injuries.
The Jets selected McKnight on the promise of his talents in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In the final game of the successive season, McKnight got an opportunity to start, and he delivered—rushing for 158 yards on 32 carries and catching two passes for 15 yards. It was a sad portrait of his collegiate and NFL career: brief glimpses of absolute glory mixed in with anonymity.
The next two years, he was primarily used—and shined—as a kick returner for the Jets. He also had a brief stint at corner as his coaches tried to figure out how to best use the dynamic athlete.
McKnight spent 2013 out of football, then signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. He caught two touchdown passes in one September game, but missed almost the whole season due to a torn Achilles’ tendon he suffered in the next practice.
That was the last time McKnight would play in the NFL. He played in the CFL this fall for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Police blocked off McKnight's body from public view with a black shield on Behrman Highway Thursday afternoon.