A car collision and exchange of words between former Saints DE Will Smith and the suspect took place followed by gunshots that ended Smith's life.

The shooting occurred after a vehicle collision at about 11:30 p.m in Louisiana’s French Quarter. Smith was traveling in a Mercedes in the Lower Garden District when he was rear ended by a Hummer H2. The collision was hard enough that it sent Smith’s Mercedes forward crashing into a third vehicle which belonged to Smith’s group.

Smith and the driver of the Hummer got out of the vehicle and exchanged some words. That’s when the driver that hit Smith, identified as Cardell Hayes, pulled out a gun and shot Smith multiple times. Smith’s wife, Racquel, 33, was also in the vehicle and was shot twice in the right leg and was transported to a hospital.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 34.

Cardell Hayes: Photo/AP
Cardell Hayes: Photo/AP

Hayes was arrested on the scene, the weapon he used was recovered and a passenger in his vehicle was questioned and released.

Yesterday Tom and Gayle Benson and the Saint's organization posted this on their Facebook wall.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Will and his wife Racquel, but more importantly with their children, William, Wynter and Lisa who are suffering and just starting to realize and deal with an unimaginable loss. We are devastated and saddened by Will's tragic and preventable death due to a senseless act that will leave a lasting scar on our community forever. Will was more than an exceptional football player he was a father, a husband, a son, a brother and teammate to so many and an inspiration to countless more. He will be greatly missed by all those he touched and impacted both on and off the football field and his legacy will continue to shine. The Saints family is hurting and devastated as it has lost a member too young and too soon.”
-Tom and Gayle Benson and the entire New Orleans Saints Organization

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