Former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was tragically murdered allegedly at the hands of Cardell Hayes following a traffic altercation in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 9 at approximately 11:30 pm, confirmed cnn.com.
Smith, 34, and his wife Raquel were traveling near Sophie Wright Place and Felicity Street when their Mercedes SUV was struck suddenly by a Hummer H2. Following the accident, Smith and Cardell Hayes, the man who had rear-ended Smith’s car, engaged in a series of arguments.
Shortly after, Hayes allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot Smith multiple times in his back and side as well as his wife twice in the leg. Raquel Smith was taken to New Orleans University Medical Center where she would survive the wounds. Unfortunately, Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police arrested 28-year-old Cardell Hayes and charged him with second-degree murder setting his bail at $1 million. Hayes had previous offenses with the law as he was found guilty of illegally carrying a firearm in addition to possessing drug equipment. He was issued six months probation for these incidents.
However, this scenario did not add up. According to usatoday.com, Hayes was a “good football player, a good person,” and they also mentioned that he “never demonstrated a temper.” This makes it appear quite unusual for Hayes to be involved in such a horrific turn of events.
Junior Bennett Gaines believed that Smith’s killer “might have had a rough background filled with murders or abuse that plagued his childhood years.” Gaines assumed that his supposed rough background might have forced him to murder Will Smith out of rage. Gaines also thought “football is an aggressive sport that brings out the violence in people.”
Senior Regan Chasney shared similar feelings and claimed, “anger, as well as frustration, was a major motive in this case.” Chasney considered this a “bad situation that turned worse with the involvement of a firearm.”
The day after Smith was killed, the NFL mourned his death through the use of social media. Both former teammates of Smith as well as players all around the league stepped up to voice their emotions. “Hurt right now. Lord, please be with Will Smith’s family,” stated Darren Sproles, running back for the Philadelphia Eagles, on Twitter.
Smith touched many lives throughout his short ten-year career. Drafted in 2004 and playing his whole career in New Orleans, Smith had many successful years and earned multiple accolades culminating in winning the 2009 Super Bowl with the Saints. In 2008, he became the highest paid defensive end in the NFL.