Smith, the former New Orleans Saints defensive end, was shot eight times around 11:30 p.m. on April 9. The incident began after a minor fender bender as Smith was leaving a restaurant in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District. Cardell Hayes, the suspected gunman, called police after the shooting occurred and waited for authorities to arrive on scene.
On Thursday, Hayes was indicted on one count of aggravated assault with a handgun and second-degree murder in the shooting death of Smith. Hayes also faces a count of attempt to commit second-degree murder against the football player’s wife, Racquel Smith. Mrs. Smith was in the SUV during the shooting and sustained a non-fatal injury.
From WDSU News:
The indictment came during a probable cause hearing as witnesses, including former Saints player and Smith’s friend Pierre Thomas, were being called by defense attorneys John Fuller and Jay Daniels.
Fuller, not arguing that Hayes killed Smith in the shooting, said his client is legally innocent of murder and criticizes the investigation by the New Orleans Police Department, citing “untoward” activity from a witness. Initially, police reported recovering one gun at the scene on the night of the shooting. Days later, police said two additional guns were recovered — one in Smith’s Mercedes SUV and another in Hayes’ Hummer H2.
As reported by NewsOne, Hayes and Smith share a common connection with a former New Orleans police officer, who was named in a lawsuit filed by Hayes a decade ago. Smith dined with former police officer William Ceravolo at the Sake Cafe in New Orleans before the shooting, but police do not suspect the coincidental link will lead them to a motive.
An investigation continues.
SOURCE: WDSU | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty