Former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot to death in a suspected road-rage incident on Saturday night, New Orleans police and the coroner’s office said.
Cardell Hayes, 29, was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder, New Orleans Police Department spokesman Tyler A. Gamble announced on Sunday.
According to police, Smith, 34, and his wife, Racquel, were traveling in New Orleans’ Lower Garden district when a Hummer H2 rear-ended their Mercedes G63. Hayes, who was driving the Hummer, and Smith exchanged words before Hayes allegedly shot Smith. Smith’s wife was shot multiple times in the leg.
Smith’s teammates and other NFL staffers expressed their shock and offered condolences to Smith’s family.
I didn't get along with him at all but it feels as if my own brother died idc I don't wish death on my worst ENEMY I BEEN TO ICU TWICE #Rip
— Junior Galette (@JovaisG) April 10, 2016
The shooter was known to the victims, police said in a statement. He stayed on the scene until police arrived, and was arrested shortly afterward.
Smith, a native of Queens, New York, was a first-round draft pick for the Saints in 2004. As defensive end for the team’s Super Bowl victory in 2009, he achieved a career high of 13 sacks. A knee injury in 2013 put him on the disabled list, and he was signed to the New England Patriots in 2014 but never made the regular roster.
Smith leaves behind his wife and his three children.