Updates at the end you might be interested in reading. The killer’s father was shot and killed by one of the officers Smith had dinner with the same night Smith was murdered.
Former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was fatally shot in the Lower Garden District around 11:29 p.m. on Saturday. His wife, Racquel Smith, was shot in the leg during the incident, which police described as road rage after Smith’s vehicle collided with another.
Will Smith and his wife were traveling in their Mercedes Benz SUV shortly after midnight Saturday when they were rear-ended by a Hummer H2, authorities told Nola.com. Smith’s vehicle then struck a Chevrolet Impala.
Words were exchanged between the Hummer driver and Smith when the driver of the H2 pulled out a gun, shooting Smith seven or eight times. Smith’s wife was shot twice in the lower leg.
A tourist helped Mrs. Smith, giving her ice chips, until paramedics arrived.
“I kept her company until the paramedics came because she was screaming,” the tourist told the Washington Post.
The 30-year-old driver of the other vehicle was in custody as the investigation into the possible road rage incident continued. The gun used in the shooting was recovered.
The Saints were made aware of the situation early Sunday morning.
“A senseless and tragic loss,” tweeted Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Will Smith – his wife Racquel – his children William, Wynter and Lisa.”
New Orleans Online reported that Smith, 34, was considered one of the best defenders in franchise history. He was a five-time defensive captain during his tenure with the Saints and a cornerstone for 10 seasons.
He started 120 games and helped bring the city its first Super Bowl in 2009. His 13 sacks that season were a personal best.
Smith finished his Saints career with 67.5 sacks, fourth on the franchise’s all-time list. He also had 618 tackles, two interceptions, 19 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.
He was the first Saints player since La’Roi Glover (1998-2000) to lead the team in sacks for three consecutive seasons, which he did from 2005 to 2007.
Only recently, Smith was at the UN talking about how sports could bring peace to the world. He was a good family man, father of two sons and a daughter, who was contributing to society. When you read the updates below, you will see his killer was not.
His last tweet:
— Will Smith (@iWillSmith) April 10, 2016
Video at the scene:
April 10, 2016: 10:00
The killer was charged with second-degree murder. His name is Cardell Hayes, who is a football player himself, and he is 28 years old. He sued the City of New Orleans after police shot his father in 2005. His father was mentally ill and that was an excuse to award money in a settlement. Was this road rage or something else?
The Advocate reported:
One of the defendants named in the lawsuit Hayes filed against the city was Billy Ceravolo, who retired from the New Orleans Police Department as a captain in 2013 after 25 years on the force. The lawsuit accused Ceravolo of being among several officers to fatally shoot Anthony Hayes.
Ceravolo on Sunday said he was eating dinner with Smith and former Saints running back Pierre Thomas at a restaurant in the Lower Garden District shortly before authorities said Smith was rear-ended by Cardell Hayes, 28, on a nearby street.
Ceravolo was not at the scene of the murder.
Hayes was a New Orleans prep football star according to nola. The Daily Mail said he also served as an extra in a recent film.
Some reports indicate that Hayes was arrested in 2010 for possession of a gun and drugs but he only received a sentence of 5 months probation in 2014 after sitting in prison for six months. If they want to get guns away from criminals, perhaps they should follow the law and put these guys in prison for the sentences the law suggests instead of taking guns from law-abiding citizens?
NEW INFO: Cardell Hayes, suspected of killing Will Smith, sued city of New Orleans after police killed dad in 2005. https://t.co/QhEg85r2i0
— New Orleans Advocate (@theadvocateno) April 10, 2016
The Advocate is reporting that Hayes and Smith did not know each other. Hayes lawyer said the case is far more complex than it appears. There was a hit-and-run accident with Hayes’ Hummer before the deadly accident/murder.
Hayes shot Smith in the back and in the right torso.