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Will Smith Shot Dead; Suspect Arrested

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A man was arrested Sunday in the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, who helped the team win Super Bowl XLIV, its only championship. Smith was rear-ended while driving in New Orleans’s Lower Garden District on Saturday night, causing him to hit a vehicle in front of him, police said. The driver of the vehicle that hit Smith, identified by police as Cardell Hayes, “exchanged words” with the former football player after the crash. Hayes, 28, then drew a handgun and shot Smith several times, police said. Hayes stayed at the scene, police said, and a handgun was recovered from the area. Hayes was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Smith’s wife was also shot and transported to a local hospital. Police said her injuries were non-life- threatening. Two acquaintances of Smith’s witnessed the shooting, police said, but did not immediately identify them. New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said police had no information leading them to believe that Smith and Hayes knew each other prior to the shooting. Smith, who was 34, was drafted by the Saints in 2004 and spent all nine of his seasons with the team. He last played in 2012. The Saints revealed today that Smith was voted into the Saints Hall of Fame last month. The news would have been made public in May.

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