5 Things to Know About Slain Ex-New Orleans Saints Star Will Smith
The former Saints star, 34, was shot dead Saturday night in New Orleans
On Saturday night, former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, 34, was shot and killed in what police said was an altercation following a car crash.
Smith’s wife, Racquel, was also shot in the leg and hospitalized.
On Sunday morning, police announced the arrest of Cardell Hayes, 28, and booked him with second degree murder.
Here are five things to know about Smith:
1. Smith Was a First Round Draft Pick And Super Bowl Champion with the 2009 Saints
Smith, a defensive end, starred at Ohio State University and was a key player in the team’s 2002 National Championship season. He was selected by the Saints in the first round of the 2004 draft and became a key player for the team, helping the 2009 Saints win the Super Bowl.
Smith made one Pro Bowl, in 2006, and last played an NFL regular season game in 2012.
2. Before Shooting, Smith Had Dinner with Former Cop Sued by Suspect Over Police Shooting Death of Suspect’s Father
Before Saturday s fatal shooting, Smith and his wife, Racquel, had dinner with former New Orleans Saints running back and current free agent Pierre Thomas and a onetime New Orleans police captain Billy Ceravolo. Ceravolo was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in 2006 by Cardell Hayes, the man police allege shot Smith and his wife.
Hayes filed the lawsuit – a copy of which was obtained by PEOPLE – against the New Orleans Police Department, claiming officers acted recklessly during an incident in 2005 in which authorities shot his father dead.
3. Smith’s March Selection to the Saints Hall of Fame Had Not Yet Been Announced
In March, the media selection committee of the Saints Hall of Fame unanimously elected Smith, but the team did not plan on announcing his election until May 17. The team’s website said that “the tragic development of Will’s passing has resulted in multiple media outlets revealing the news of his pending induction.”
The team added: “Will was a superb player for the Saints for nine seasons, an integral part of a team that played for the NFC championship in 2006 and won a Super Bowl in 2009.
“The Saints Hall of Fame museum expresses its deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to Racquel, William, Wynter and Lisa Smith for the loss of their husband and father, Will Smith.”
4. Smith was Suspended in Bounty Scandal But Suspension Was Overturned
Smith was suspended four games before the 2012 season for his alleged role in the Saints’ “Bountygate” scandal, in which Saints players were accused of paying out bonuses, or “bounties,” to teammates for injuring opposing players. But Smith’s suspension was overturned by an appeals panel and he was reinstated by the league. He did not miss any games that season.
5. He and his Wife, Raquel, Had Two Children Together:
Smith married Racquel in 2008 and the couple had two children together. Smith also had a third child from a previous relationship. In 2010, Lafayette, Louisiana, police arrested Smith after Racquel accused him of grabbing her by the hair and dragging her down the street. The charges against Smith were dropped in 2012, according to court officials.