NFL star Will Smith was shot eight times

Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:05pm EDT
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By Suzannah Gonzales

(Reuters) - Retired NFL player Will Smith, who was killed during the weekend after a traffic collision in New Orleans, was shot in the back several times in an apparent homicide, the city coroner said on Wednesday.

Smith, 34, one of the National Football League's top defensive ends while playing for the New Orleans Saints, had a fully loaded 9mm handgun in his Mercedes SUV when he was shot dead late Saturday by Cardell Hayes, 28, who was driving a Hummer, according to police.

Surveillance video posted online by news media outlets showed a Mercedes SUV that appears to slightly bump a Hummer from behind. The Hummer then pulled over toward the curb while the Mercedes drove off. The Hummer then followed in pursuit.

Hayes' Hummer then rear-ended Smith's Mercedes, media reports said. Police said that led to an exchange of words and the shooting.

Police said the 9mm gun had been recovered from Smith's Mercedes and that there was no indication that it had been fired during the incident.

The gun was in a compartment in the vehicle the entire time of the incident, lawyer Peter Thomson said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Smith's wife, Racquel, was shot in the leg and taken to the hospital, police said.

Hayes, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to gun and drug charges, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, police said on Sunday. Police said they recovered the weapon used in the shooting.   Continued...

NFL player Will Smith and convicted criminal Cardell Hayes.   REUTERS/Files