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$1 million bond for suspect in ex-Saints death

7 months 4 weeks 1 day ago April 10, 2016 Apr 10, 2016 Sunday, April 10 2016 April 10, 2016 9:45 AM in Sports
Source: WBRZ
By: Kristen Althouse

NEW ORLEANS - Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was shot and killed late Saturday after a traffic accident.

An emailed statement from New Orleans city coroner Jeffrey C. Rouse said that Smith died "of multiple gunshot wounds" after a traffic accident on Camp Street. The former defensive end was 34 years old.

New Orleans Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble on Sunday identified the suspect as Cardell Hayes. Gamble said the investigation was ongoing.

Authorities say Hayes killed Smith after the two argued following a traffic accident in New Orleans late Saturday.

The NOPD chief says investigators don't have any evidence that Smith and Hayes knew each other, or that Smith was targeted.

Superintendent Michael Harrison says that so far, it appears just to be an accident turned violent.

At a brief news conference Sunday, he would not say whether Hayes claims he shot Smith in self-defense. He says he doesn't want to say anything that might compromise the police investigation or weaken the case against Hayes.

He says Hayes shot Smith and Smith's wife during an argument after Hayes' Hummer rear-ended Smith's Mercedes about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

Harrison says Smith's wife was shot once in the leg and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Hayes sued city police after they shot and killed his father on Dec. 26, 2005. He and the city settled the federal lawsuit in September 2011, while attorneys were preparing for trial in the case. Court papers don't describe the settlement.

According to the lawsuit, several people told the officers that Antonio Hayes had a history of mental illness.

Police said they shot Antonio Hayes after he lunged at them with a 3-inch-long knife. Bystanders had video of officers surrounding Hayes, but not of the shooting. Six officers were defendants in the lawsuit, which said Anthony Hayes was shot at least nine times.

A tweet from the verified account of Greg Bensel, Saints vice president of communications and broadcasting, expressed condolences to Smith's family.

The New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President and General Manager Mickey Loomis says that the entire organization is deeply saddened by Smith's death and noted that he was "an important contributor to numerous charitable causes" and a "cornerstone" of the team that won the Super Bowl in 2009.

Among Smith's charitable causes was the Smith Family Christmas event that provided 60 needy families with holiday meals, gifts and a behind-the-scenes tour of the club's practice facilities.

Smith leaves behind a wife, Racquel, and three children.

The New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame says defensive end Will Smith had been unanimously voted into the hall last month.

Hall of Fame President Ken Trahan says the announcement had been scheduled next month. He says the museum "expresses its deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers" to Smith's wife, Racquel, and their three children, William, Wynter and Lisa.

He says Smith was a superb player for the Saints for nine seasons, and an integral part of a team that won the 2009 Super Bowl.

He says a formal announcement and induction will be held, but has not yet been scheduled.

A New Orleans magistrate has set bond at $1 million. Magistrate Brigid Collins noted that Smith was shot in the back and side.

Defense attorney John Fuller said after Sunday's hearing that 28-year-old Cardell Hayes is not guilty of the second-degree murder charge on which he's being held.

He implied that Hayes fired because he believed Smith was going for a gun of his own.

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