Football fans were shocked to wake up on Sunday morning to find out that an ex-New Orleans Saints defensive end had been shot and killed late Saturday night.
Will Smith, a 10 year NFL veteran, was out with his wife Saturday night in the couple’s Mercedes Sports Utility Vehicle. At about 11:30 p.m., the vehicle was rear-ended by an orange Hummer. After the collision, Smith and the driver of the Hummer exchanged words. Then it got ugly.
Shortly thereafter, both Smith and his wife were shot. Smith’s wife was shot twice in the leg and transported to a hospital. She suffered injuries but will make a full recovery. Smith himself was shot eight times in the back and was later pronounced dead at the scene. He was 34.
The shooter has already been identified as 28-year-old Cardell Hayes, who told police he was the shooter when the cops got to the scene. Hayes was taken into custody and charged with second degree murder.
According to a report, Smith had a fully loaded handgun in the back of his car. It is unclear whether or not Hayes found this out and acted out of defense, but Hayes shot Smith while Smith was seated in his car, which hurts his case.
Smith was born in Queens, New York and played college football at Ohio State. Smith was selected by the Saints with the 18th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. He was a 2006 pro-bowler and a member of the Saints’ 2009 Super bowl-winning team. He was also a part of the Saints teams that had to play through Hurricane Katrina that devastated the city of New Orleans and caused the Saints to play home games outside of their home stadium.
Saints head coach Sean Payton spoke out against gun violence after hearing about Smith’s death.
“I hate guns,” Payton said. “I’ve heard people argue that everybody needs a gun, that’s madness. I know there are many kids who grow up in a hunting environment, I get that. But there are places, like England, where even the cops don’t have guns.”
Payton also said that New Orleans as a city is “broken” in regards to the overall violence the city is facing today.
In his 10 year career, Smith tallied 459 tackles, 67.5 sacks, 20 forced fumbles and two interceptions.