Community gathers hours after McKnight's body taken to funeral home

McKnight's body turned over to funeral home after tissue collection

GRETNA, LA (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich said Wednesday that the body of Joseph McKnight has been released to Rhodes Funeral Home following the collection of tissue samples.

The coroner deferred the collection until Wednesday so the family could have a private pathologist inspect the body.

Cvitanovich said the tissue collection took less than 10 minutes and consisted of excising the skin and subcutaneous tissues around the entry wounds.

"Had this procedure been performed on Friday, the private pathologist would not have been able to examine the wounds for the presence or absence of findings such as searing, soot, stippling or marginal abrasions," Cvitanovich said. "This was not a third autopsy and does not change our initial findings in any way."

When the autopsy report is completed, it will be turned over to the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office.

Just hours after the body was sent to the funeral home, members of the community held a prayer service at the spot McKnight was killed in Terrytown.

Ronald Gasser was booked with manslaughter in the apparent road-rage incident.

Members of the NAACP are upset over Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand's sharp criticism of members of the public who quested by Gasser went days without being arrested. They slammed the sheriff over the language he used in citing text messages sent to elected officials who urged patience.

They want to sit down with Normand.

"We're not about to go tit-for-tat. If you can meet with other people you selected and feel comfortable with, you can do it with the NAACP here," said Gailor Spiller with the West Bank chapter of the organization. "You will find out that we are not bad at all. All we want is transparency."

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