The Latest: Hayes’ lawyer says witness saw Smith with gun


The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The Latest on the shooting death of football star Will Smith (all times local, Wednesday):

7:15 p.m.

A lawyer for the man accused of shooting Will Smith says a witness saw the retired football star with a gun the night he died.

During a news conference Wednesday, John Fuller questioned assertions earlier Wednesday by Smith’s lawyer that Smith did not brandish his weapon during the altercation with Cardell Hayes.

After police had earlier reported confiscating one weapon at the scene, Fuller suggested that another weapon was at the scene.

Wednesday he questioned how his client would have known about another weapon if “someone didn’t brandish that firearm?”

When asked whether witnesses had seen a gun in Smith’s possession during the night of the shooting, Fuller said: “At least one, yes.”

Hayes is accused of shooting Smith and his wife during an altercation Saturday night.


1 p.m.

The father of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith says he forgives the man accused of shooting his son to death.

Will Smith Sr. also told WTVD in Durham, North Carolina, ( he isn’t interested in a trial for 28-year-old Cardell Hayes, who is charged with second-degree murder. The elder Smith says the Lord will do to him what he’s going to do, adding that nothing that happens in the court system will bring his son back.

When reached by The Associated Press on Wednesday, Smith says he was advised by an attorney to make no additional comments.

Police say the shooting happened Saturday night. Attorneys for Hayes and Smith have given differing accounts of what led up to the confrontation.


12:30 p.m.

A coroner’s report shows slain football star Will Smith was shot eight times the night he died — seven times in the back and once in the left side of his chest.

New Orleans Coroner Jeffrey Rouse’s Wednesday statement came as a lawyer for Smith’s family said Smith never brandished a gun when he was shot Saturday night.

Police said Tuesday that Smith had a gun in the car the night he and another man confronted each other after a car crash. But the gun was never fired. Attorney Peter Thomson says Smith was not carrying it when he was shot.

Thomson says Smith was not inebriated the night of the crash. The coroner’s statement says toxicology results won’t be available for six to eight weeks, however.


11:50 a.m.

An attorney for the family of Will Smith says the former New Orleans Saints star did not brandish a gun or have it on him before he was shot to death.

Peter Thomson, an attorney for the Smith family, gave an account of the shooting Wednesday based on his interviews with witnesses. He says Smith had a license to carry a concealed weapon but never threatened the man who shot him, Cardell Hayes, with the pistol.

Police said Tuesday that they found a 9 mm pistol in Smith’s car after he was shot to death Saturday night. His wife, Racquel, also was shot in the leg and wounded.

Thomson also disputed reports that the Mercedes Smith was driving hit Hayes’ Hummer before the shooting. He says Smith and his passengers drove away after slamming on their brakes behind the Hummer, believing they did not hit the vehicle.


11 a.m.

The lawyer for a man who was in the car with the person who shot former football player Will Smith says the killing was “justifiable homicide.”

NBC reports that the statement came from attorney Tanzanika Ruffin on behalf of the passenger, Kevin O’Neal.

O’Neal was in the SUV with Cardell Hayes, who was arrested on a second-degree murder charge after Saturday night’s shooting in New Orleans.

Ruffin says O’Neal believes his life was saved by Hayes because, in Ruffin’s words, “Smith had a gun and was going to shoot it.”

Police confirmed Tuesday that a loaded gun was found in Smith’s vehicle after the shooting.

Hayes’ lawyer has insisted that Hayes was not the aggressor in the shooting.


8 a.m.

As family, friends and fans prepare to say goodbye to football star Will Smith, police have released new details in his death.

In a statement late Tuesday, police shed more light on the Saturday night shooting, in which police say Cardell Hayes shot and killed Smith and wounded his wife after a traffic incident.

Police say they found a loaded .9 mm handgun in Smith’s vehicle, but there was no indication it was fired. Police also say Hayes told police when they arrived that he was the shooter. They also found a revolver in his vehicle.

But police said Tuesday that he used another weapon, a .45, to shoot Smith and his wife.

A visitation for fans will be held Friday. A private funeral service is set for Saturday.

The Associated Press

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