Paper: Former NFL player McKnight shot dead in Louisiana

(Reuters) - Former National Football League player Joe McKnight was shot and killed on Thursday in his native Louisiana in what officials are investigating as a road rage incident.

The shooting occurred around 3 p.m. local time at a traffic intersection in Terrytown, just outside New Orleans, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Colonel John Fortunato said.

The shooting suspect, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, was taken into custody and was being questioned by investigators, Fortunato said.

See social reactions to McKnight's death:

The 28-year-old McKnight played for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs during his five-year career in the NFL. His last season in the league was in 2014, and he has since played as a running back for the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Tributes poured in on social media from McKnight's former NFL colleagues in response to the deadly shooting.

Reggie Bush, a running back for the Buffalo Bills who played college football for McKnight's alma mater the University of Southern California, tweeted, "RIP my brother Joe McKnight this one hurts bad."

Former New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie also lamented the loss, saying in a tweet, "Just got a message saying my former teammate Joe McKnight was killed today. This hurt to the heart. I can't stop crying."

Another former NFL player, Will Smith, was shot dead in New Orleans near the city's famed French Quarter earlier this year.

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Smith, one of the NFL's top defensive ends before his 2014 retirement, was returning from a dinner with his wife on April 9 when police say a Hummer driven by Cardell Hayes struck the rear of Smith's Mercedes SUV and caused it to crash into another vehicle.

The two men exited their cars and exchanged words before Hayes drew a weapon and fired multiple shots, police said. Smith, 34, was hit by gunfire eight times and pronounced dead on the scene. Smith's wife, Racquel, was shot twice in the leg and survived.

Hayes has pleaded not guilty to charges including second-degree murder and attempted murder.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Andrew Hay)