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Former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, 34, was shot and killed on Saturday night in what the police are calling “an apparent road-rage incident” after a traffic accident.
In addition to Smith, who was shot several times, his wife was also shot in the leg and has been hospitalized, according to NBC News.
New Orleans Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble on Sunday identified the suspect as Cardell Hayes, 28. Gamble said the investigation was ongoing but did not release further details. Online court records show Hayes pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count each of possessing an illegal weapon and possessing drug paraphernalia.
New Orleans Police said Smith’s car was rear-ended by a Hummer H2 and then his Mercedes hit a Chevrolet Impala that was in front of him.
According to a police statement, “the male victim and the driver of the Hummer exchanged words at which time the driver of the Hummer produced a handgun and shot the male victim multiple times.”
“It appears that it could possibly have been road rage,” Officer Juan D. Barnes Sr. told a press conference.
The Saints released a statement, calling the incident “a senseless and tragic loss.”
A senseless and tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with Will Smith – his wife Racquel – his children William, Wynter and Lisa.
— Greg Bensel (@GregBensel) April 10, 2016
Smith played 1- seasons in the NFL, all with the Saints. He was a key player for the Saints during their 2009 Super Bowl season. Smith had 13 sacks that season.
Smith’s career sack total ranks fourth in Saints history. He had 457 career tackles, 20 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
He last played in an NFL regular season game in 2012, finishing his career with 67 ½ sacks.