Police looking for other motives beside road rage in Will Smith killing

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Will Smith, a player on the National Football League. (Photo Courtesy: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia)

The New Orleans Police Department is looking at other motives besides road rage in the death of former Saints defensive end Will Smith.

The 34-year-old retired football player was fatally shot by Cardell Hayes after a vehicle accident on Saturday night in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans. The 28-year-old Hayes also shot Smith’s wife, Racquel, who suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds on her leg.

According to a report by, Smith’s Mercedes Benz was rear-ended by Hayes’ Hummer H2. Smith and Hayes got into an argument causing the suspect to get a handgun and shoot the victim and his wife.

The police pronounced Will Smith was dead on the scene while his wife was brought to the hospital. On the other hand, Hayes remained in the crime scene until authorities responded and arrested him.

The New Orleans Advocate noted that the suspect sued the city of New Orleans in 2005 after his father was killed by police officer. Hayes and his sister named Tyiece Baptiste-Howard filed separate lawsuits against the city, alleging that officers should have used non-lethal force to restrain their father.

The report mentioned that the city of New Orleans reached a settlement with the Hayes siblings in 2011 for an undisclosed “large” amount of money. The Washington Post added that Will Smith was with ex-teammate Pierre Thomas and NOPD commander Billy Ceravolo about an hour before the shootings.

Ceravolo was one of the officers named in a Hayes’ lawsuit that could spark some speculations. New Orleans police chief Michael Harrison also confirmed that the suspect was indeed the son of the man killed by the police in 2005.

However, Harrison said that he cannot confirm if Smith and Hayes knew each other before the incident. He also did not provide additional details if Hayes is claiming self-defense for his actions. The suspect has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held on a $1 million bond.

Photo Courtesy: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia

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