With more than 24 hours since the tragic shooting death of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, the shooter, 28-year-old Cardell Hayes was arrested and booked on second-degree murder charges. According to reports, Hayes was driving a Hummer H2 when his vehicle collided with Smith’s Mercedes SUV. Immediately following the accident, the men exchanged words and Hayes fatally shot Smith and also shot his wife Racquel twice in the leg, she is expected to survive.
Following the arrest, Hayes’ attorney John Fuller addressed reporters stating that his client was not the aggressor, while also insinuating that the victims might have been intoxicated.
The reports that we’ve heard so far that were on television and various news outlets were not consistent with everything that happened, and I can tell you that my client was not the aggressor in terms of the behavior that happened after the accident.
Well, I know that there were parties that were intoxicated or under the influence of some type of mind-altering substance, based on appearances. We don’t know that for sure, but we have a strong suspicion that that was the case.
Hayes, who was High School football star, has had previous run-ins with the law, having pled guilty to one count of possessing an illegal weapon and drug paraphernalia back in 2014. He also filed a lawsuit against the New Orleans Police Department in 2005 after his father was shot to death by police. The case was settled in 2011 and ironically enough, one of the officers named in the suit, William Ceravolo, was having dinner with Smith and former Saints RB Pierre Thomas right before the shooting.
Will Smith 1-hour before being shot & killed, w/Pierre Thomas & former NOPD commander Billy Ceravolo.
So sad. pic.twitter.com/PMFpRm3vOl
— Fletcher Mackel (@FletcherMackel) April 10, 2016