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Shooting of former New Orleans Saints player stuns the NFL

Posted by Betonline Team on 4/18/2016 2:02:32 PM
Will Smith NFL
By Jeffrey Beall - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

There is sadness in New Orleans. There is also anger and disgust as this community tries to come to grips with the fatal shooting of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith in the Lower Garden District.

Police charged alleged shooter Cardel Hayes, 28, with second-degree murder. Police say he shot Smith and his wife Racquel following a road rage incident. Racquel was shot twice in the leg and remains in University Medical Center. Smith was shot eight times, including seven times in the back.

Smith was a beloved figure in the community even in retirement. He was a member of the Saints Super Bowl XLIV team and continued to do community work in the city.

“I witnessed a close friend, teammate, big brother shot to death,” said Saints running back Pierre Thomas.

Fans gathered on the corner of Sophie Wright Place and Felicity Streets and placed flowers, teddy bears, and Saints items in the memorial.

An entire community asks why? Hayes not only took Smith’s life and ruined his family but also ruined his life simply because two cars collided.

It makes no sense, but road rage in the United States is common.  No statistics are kept on the number of road rage incidents, however, the AAA foundation reports that most incidents are caused by young, poorly educated men between the ages of 16 and 26 who have a history of crime and drug and alcohol abuse.

Many of the men recently lost jobs or had ugly breakups with a girlfriend or spouse. They are angry and they snap. That may have been the case with Hayes.

New Orleans is a festive city on and near Bourbon Street but it is also a crime-filled city filled with death and destruction, something Saints quarterback Drew Brees addressed after the Smith shooting.

“I’ll be honest with you, part of my emotions was I was angry,” Brees said on WWL Radio in New Orleans. “I was sad for New Orleans and I was angry at New Orleans because I feel that this is a problem that has been around for a long time. And it’s not just New Orleans, it’s nationwide. It’s worldwide. It’s the way that people treat people.”

Hayes’ attorney John Fuller said “legally speaking” that his client is not guilty of second degree murder.

“Everyone was threatened that was out there,” Fuller said. “Multiple witnesses have told me that someone besides my client and his friend was behaving in a threatening nature out there on that night.”

However, Smith never removed the gun that was inside his Mercedes SUV, family attorney Peter Thompson said.

“I’m aware of nothing that Will Smith did that would cause this killer to be afraid for his life,” Thompson said. “There’s nothing Will Smith could have ever said to have caused that specific intent to shoot and kill him and specific intent to shoot his wife.”

Witnesses said there was a confrontation and both men bragged about having weapons to end the argument. It appears only Hayes pulled a weapon.

“And he goes F---- y’all I got one too,” a witness who did not want to be identified told the New Orleans media. “And he grabs the gun and then he shoots him in the back. He’s dead.”

Now a husband, father and a good guy in the community is gone.


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