Update, 3:30 p.m.; April 12, 2016
New surveillance video released Tuesday by Juan's Flying Burrito in the 2000 block of Magazine Street appears to confirm a WVUE-TV report, showing a possible hit-and-run involving former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith and alleged shooter Cardell Hayes before the deadly incident Saturday night.
In the third part of the video below (showing the pink/yellow outdoor umbrellas), Half-Moon Bar & Grill captured what could be Hayes' orange Hummer driving behind Smith's Mercedes following the possible hit-and-run near Juan's. Half-Moon Bar & Grill is located in the 1100 block of St. Mary Street just upriver from where the Lower Garden District shooting occurred.
Juan's Flying Burrito released a statement to The Advocate, saying "We at Juan' Flying Burrito shared our camera footage with the hope that we could bring understanding to this tragic event in our community. Our condolences go out to the Smith family and their friends."
Update, 9:34 p.m.; April 11, 2016
New surveillance video obtained by WVUE-TV in New Orleans shows the Mercedes SUV matching the description of one driven by Will Smith possibly hitting the back of Cardell Hayes' Hummer soon after Smith finished dinner in the Lower Garden District on Saturday.
The video also shows the Hummer pulling over after the potential collision. At that point, the SUV can be seen fleeing the possible accident scene. The Hummer then followed the SUV, the surveillance videos show.
Jay Daniels, one of Cardell Hayes' two attorneys, said the video footage WVUE-TV aired late Monday "is consistent with the information that we have."
Daniels, though, declined to comment on the matter further, saying, "I am more of the opinion that to continue this public discourse would not be in the best interest of Mr. Hayes or in showing the proper respect to both families involved."
"I think the video speaks for itself," Daniels said. "Mr. Hayes and those who are involved in his representation are looking forward to things coming out in court."
New Orleans police's account of the incident says Smith was driving on Sophie Wright Place when his silver Mercedes G63 SUV was struck from behind by Hayes’ orange Hummer H2. The collision caused the Mercedes to strike the rear of a dark Chevrolet Impala in which were two people described as acquaintances of Smith.
Police said that, after Smith and Hayes got out of their vehicles and exchanged words, Hayes drew a handgun and shot Smith multiple times.
But on Monday, Fuller outlined a different version of the night’s events that he said began with an earlier incident, a hit-and-run involving Hayes’ vehicle in which the other driver sped off.
Fuller refused to say whose car had first hit Hayes’ Hummer, but he said the collision at Sophie Wright Place happened when Hayes was in pursuit of the license plate number of the hit-and-run driver.
Additionally, Fuller has argued there is "evidence" there may have been a second gun on the scene and that Hayes "felt threatened." Fuller has also said Hayes "was not the aggressor" during the incident that left Smith dead.
The fatal shooting of former Saints player Will Smith on Saturday night shocked New Orleans for its seeming senselessness as well as the identity of the victim. A minor three-car crash somehow became the apparent spark for the killing of a Super Bowl champion in front of at least four witnesses.
On Monday, the city and the nation continued to mourn the death of Smith, who was 34 and lived with his family in the area where he had played football professionally for a decade.
Meanwhile, as his accused killer remained in jail in lieu of $1 million bail, police and a defense attorney for 28-year-old Cardell Hayes offered competing narratives about what happened on the Lower Garden District street where one man died and one was arrested.
Increasingly, the two stories centered around whether police found more than one gun on the scene — which they have not disclosed — and who was the aggressor in the confrontation.
For Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, the nature of the encounter was clear.
“(Hayes) pulled out a gun and made a decision to shoot Mr. Smith. This is a man who made that decision on his own,” Harrison told WWL-TV. “This was his rage that made him make that decision to do that.”
Harrison said he and Mayor Mitch Landrieu had visited Smith’s wife, Racquel “Rockie” Smith, on Sunday night to offer their condolences.
In addition to mourning her husband’s death, Racquel Smith is also recovering from bullet wounds she received to the right leg during the incident. Police said Monday they intend to rebook Hayes in connection with her shooting, although they have not decided whether to book him on aggravated battery by shooting or attempted murder.
Meanwhile, Hayes’ defense attorney, John Fuller, continued to try to cast doubt over the NOPD’s version of the shooting. He has raised the possibility that more than one weapon was involved, which could lay the ground for a self-defense claim.
Hayes appeared in court Monday as a second attorney, Jay Daniels, confirmed that he would represent Hayes while Fuller serves as a temporary Criminal District Court judge from May until after a November election to fill the seat.
Fuller filed a motion for the Police Department to preserve any ballistics evidence related to the shooting, which Magistrate Commissioner Brigid Collins quickly signed.
Speaking to television cameras from local and national outlets outside court, Fuller said he has “evidence” there may have been a second gun on the scene, although he did not flatly say there was another gun.
Police believe that Hayes and Smith argued on the street after Hayes’ Hummer rear-ended Smith’s Mercedes SUV, sending the SUV into the back of a Chevrolet Impala occupied by friends of Smith.
Investigators believe that Smith was returning to his car when he was fired upon, according to Harrison. Officers found Smith’s body partially inside his Mercedes SUV.
‘Not the aggressor’
Fuller has said his client was “not the aggressor” in the confrontation. He said Hayes felt threatened during the encounter, although under repeated questioning, he would not say if Smith made any threats.
“It would be safe to say that not only he felt threatened, but citizens that were out there on that block felt threatened as well,” Fuller said. “I think the uncovering or unearthing of a second gun would lend itself to the defense of Mr. Hayes.”
Fuller said he was not surprised that police intend to book his client in connection with the shooting of Racquel Smith. “Doesn’t change the facts, doesn’t change what the evidence will show,” he said.
Police have said that one firearm was confiscated at the scene of the shooting, but they have left open the possibility there were more guns inside the three vehicles impounded after the shooting — Hayes’ Hummer, Smith’s SUV and the Chevrolet occupied by Smith’s acquaintances.
Asked about Fuller’s suggestion that there was more than one gun on the scene, Harrison responded, “Don’t forget, that is a defense attorney.”
Tyler Gamble, a Police Department spokesman, said Monday afternoon that the process of executing warrants on the vehicles seized “is still ongoing and has not been completed.”
“We’ll pull out what we find in there,” Gamble said of the vehicles. “When we responded to the scene, one gun was recovered initially. That gun, we believe, was in Hayes’ possession, and all the casings that were found on the scene matched that gun.”
Gamble said he wasn’t certain how many shots were fired at the scene, near Sophie Wright Place and Felicity Street.
More witnesses have come forward to talk about what they saw and heard when the shooting occurred about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Spooky Turrell, who lives a short distance down Camp Street from where the shooting occurred, told WWL-TV that she had just turned off her lights when the gunfire started.
Turrell said she heard one shot and then, after a pause, several more. “I heard like ‘pow’ and then ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,’ ” she said.
One interview with a bystander recorded in the aftermath of the shooting and posted on Facebook by user Christopher Nit Sheffield raises the possibility that Hayes at least believed Smith — or one of his companions — had a gun.
Fuller appeared to reference this video when he spoke of “evidence” suggesting a second gun at the scene of the shooting.
The Advocate could not verify whether the man speaking in the video witnessed the shooting, and authorities have not named any witnesses in the case.
Recorded at the scene of the killing shortly after it occurred, Sheffield’s video shows an unidentified man describing what was supposedly heard during the deadly violence.
“(They) start freaking out on this guy. They’re like, ‘We’re going to fight you,’ ” Sheffield’s video shows the man saying, in audio that is at times difficult to decipher. “And then he’s like, I guess ... ‘I have a gun,’ and he goes, “(expletive), I got one, too.” And then he grabs his gun and then he shoots him in the back and he’s dead.”
The man behind the camera in Sheffield’s video asks in an alarmed tone, “There’s a dead man over there?”
The bystander replies, “Yeah ... in the Mercedes truck.”
The video then pans and shows police handcuffing Hayes and a second man who was released after questioning.
The video also captured audio of Racquel Smith screaming, “I need an ambulance. My leg has been shot.”
She is also heard saying “my husband” while sobbing.
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