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Police Yet To Establish Motive For Will Smith Shooting; Suspect's Attorney Claims His Client "Not The Aggressor"

At a press conference yesterday, New Orleans police superintendent Michael Harrison released a few more details about his department’s investigation into the killing of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, who was shot to death over the weekend, allegedly by former high school football star Cardell Hayes.

Harrison confirmed that the shooting happened after Smith’s car was rear-ended by Hayes’s, and that the two exited their vehicles and exchanged words before the shooting. When police arrived, Smith was found in his car and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and Smith’s wife had also been shot twice in the leg. Hayes remained at the scene and waited for police to arrive, as did his passenger, Kevin O’Neal, who has been questioned and released by police.


Harrison also said that police have yet to establish a motive for the shooting, and have not yet determined if Hayes and Smith knew each other. Just before the shooting, Smith and his wife were eating dinner with New Orleans police captain Billy Ceravolo, who was sued by Hayes over the shooting death of Hayes’s father in 2005.

Hayes’s attorney, John Fuller, also spoke to reporters yesterday, and claimed that his client was “not the aggressor” during the altercation that led up to the shooting. He also said his client believes a toxicology test should be performed, and that such a test might “shed some light on the behavior of some of the participants.” Fuller also suggested that there may have been another firearm at the scene, and said that Hayes and Smith did not know each other before the accident. He also claimed that Hayes’s car was hit moments before the fender-bender that precipitated the shooting, and that Hayes was pursuing the driver of that vehicle.


[The Advocate]

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