Cardell Hayes, charged in Will Smith shooting, has football background with Warren Easton, Crescent City Kings

Cardell Hayes

Cardell Hayes, the 28-year-old man who has been arrested and booked on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of former Saints defensive end Will Smith, was a decorated high school football player at Warren Easton.

Hayes, a defensive tackle at the school, was listed on’s Louisiana Fab 50 list for the class of 2005 as a 6-foot-4, 280-pounder, although it’s unclear if he ever played football at the collegiate level.

But Hayes had continued to play the sport as an adult. Hayes played for the Crescent City Kings, a member of the Gridiron Developmental Football League, as recently as 2015.

Police told The Advocate that Smith was driving east on Sophie Wright Place late Saturday night when his silver Mercedes G63 SUV was struck from behind by an orange Hummer H2. That collision caused the Mercedes to strike the rear of a dark Chevrolet Impala, in which there were two people who were described as acquaintances of Smith.

Smith and the driver of the Hummer exchanged words, police said. The driver of the Hummer then drew a handgun and shot Smith multiple times. Smith’s wife — Racquel Smith, a passenger in the Mercedes — was shot twice in the right leg.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was taken to University Medical Center for treatment.