Former Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot to death in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District on Saturday night following a traffic collision, the coroner’s office confirmed.
Smith, 34 years, was shot after exchanging words with the driver of a Hummer H2 that rear-ended his Mercedes G63 SUV, causing him to strike another vehicle, police said.
Smith was shot multiple times, and his wife, Racquel, also 34, was shot twice in the right leg, according to police. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, while his wife was taken to a hospital.
Smith’s family released a statement Sunday morning.
“On behalf of the Smith family, we are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers. We ask that you continue to respect the family’s privacy as they grieve the loss of a devoted husband, father and friend.”
Police said the driver of the Hummer, Cardell Hayes, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder and that the handgun used in the shooting had been recovered.
The Saints also confirmed Smith’s death, with Saints owners Tom and Gayle Benson and general manager Mickey Loomis releasing statements.
” 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 “