Will Smith, a former Ohio State Buckeyes player and New Orleans Saints defensive end, was shot to death in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District on Saturday night following a traffic collision, an apparent victim of road rage turned violent, the coroner’s office confirmed.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Smith, 34, was shot after words were exchanged with the driver of a Hummer H2 that rear-ended his Mercedes G63 SUV, which caused the football player to strike another vehicle, police said.
Although the Falcons hate the Saints, we’re still keeping Will Smith and his family and friends in our prayers. #RIP pic.twitter.com/tl5i0c3m3G
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) April 10, 2016
Smith was killed after being shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife, Racquel, also 34, was shot twice in the right leg and was taken to a hospital.
On Sunday, New Orleans police department announced via Twitter that they had arrested Cardell Hayes, 28, and booked him with second degree murder in the death of Will Smith.
— NOPD (@NOPDNews) April 10, 2016
Smith’s family released a statement Sunday morning.
“On behalf of the Smith family, we are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers. We ask that you continue to respect the family’s privacy as they grieve the loss of a devoted husband, father and friend.”
The New Orleans Police Department released a statement about the violent encounter between Smith and the driver of the Hummer.
“The 34-year-old male victim’s vehicle was traveling eastbound on Sophie Wright Place when his vehicle was hit in the rear by a Hummer H2. The collision caused the victim’s Mercedes G63 SUV to strike the rear of a [Chevrolet] Impala who was traveling along with the victim. The male victim and the driver of the Hummer exchanged words at which time the driver of the Hummer produced a handgun and shot the male victim multiple times and his 34-year-old wife in the leg. The male victim was pronounced dead at the scene.”
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 10, 2016
Police said Hayes was arrested and being interviewed, and officers on the scene recovered the handgun used in the shooting.
— Oakville Beaver (@OakvilleBeaver) April 10, 2016
The Saints also confirmed Smith’s death, with a spokesman tweeting a statement.
A senseless and tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with Will Smith – his wife Racquel – his children William, Wynter and Lisa.
— Greg Bensel (@GregBensel) April 10, 2016
According to ESPN, Smith was drafted out of Ohio State by the Saints with the 18th overall pick in 2004 and spent all nine of his professional seasons with the Saints. He retired after the 2012 season. A Pro Bowler in 2006, Smith ranks fourth in Saints history with 67.5 career sacks, with a career-high 13 during the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl season.
Ohio State Buckeyes’ coach Urban Meyer also tweeted his shock over the death of the former Ohio State player.
Heart breaking news at the loss of buckeye great, Will Smith. Buckeye Nation extends our prayers to his family during this difficult time.
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) April 10, 2016
Sadly, Smith had tweeted from New Orleans mere hours before his death.
— Will Smith (@iWillSmith) April 10, 2016
According to the Canal St. Chronicles, the alleged shooter, Hayes, is being held in court pending a hearing over the incident that killed Will Smith. According to the newspaper, this isn’t Hayes’ first encounter with the law. In 2014, he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a weapon and drug paraphernalia.
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]