On April 9th, 2016, the world and the NFL lost a great man. The New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was brutally murdered. We’ve heard about his tragic death, but we need to know more about his remarkable life. 

Will Smith was gunned down in an apparent road rage incident late Saturday night.

Smith's wife, who was in the vehicle with him, suffered two gunshot wounds to her leg, and will be fine. Authorities pronounced Smith dead at the scene.Click through for 10 important facts about Will!

5 Facts About Will Smith's Death:

What happened?

Smith, 34, and his wife, Racquel Smith, 33, were shot late Saturday in the city's Lower Garden District. The couple were in a Mercedes SUV when they were rear-ended by a Hummer H2.

Smith and the driver of the Hummer “exchanged words,” according to police. Suspect Cardell Hayes, the driver of the Hummer, then pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots at Smith and his wife.

Will Smith died at the scene. His wife was transported to a hospital with two gunshot wounds to her leg, police said. She is expected to recover.

Who is suspect Cardell Hayes?

    According to The Times-Picayune, Cardell Hayes is a semi-professional football player, who owns his own towing company.

      He is the sole provider for his 5-year-old son and was once considered among Louisiana's top prep football players. 

      In 2004, Scout.com listed him as one of the top 50 players in the state for the class of 2005. He played for Warren Easton High School.
Story Behind Hayes's Life:

Mugshot of Cardell Hayes, Anthony Hayes’ son. (Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office)

     Hayes' father, Anthony Hayes, was shot and killed by New Orleans police officers in 2005 after he got into an argument with an employee at a local pharmacy while armed with a pocket knife, according to The Advocate. The shooting took place just blocks from the area where Hayes allegedly shot Will Smith Saturday.

     Records from Orleans Parish Criminal District Court show Hayes was last arrested in 2010 on charges which included illegally carrying weapons, possession of codeine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

     He pleaded guilty to illegally carrying weapons and a possession of drug paraphernalia charge in January 2014 and received a suspended six-month sentence.

What’s next?

Hayes was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

       At his first appearance Sunday afternoon the judge set Hayes’ bail at $1 million.

Hayes did not enter a plea, according to ESPN.

Smith Had Just Had Dinner with a Police Officer that Cardell Had Named in the Lawsuit Over Anthony’s Death:

        Just before he was shot and killed, Will Smith and his wife Racquel had dinner with Billy Ceravolo, former New Orleans Police Department commander, and Pierre Thomas, former Saints running back. Cardell Hayes had named Ceravolo in a high-profile lawsuit over the shooting death of his dad, Anthony Hayes, in 2005.

       Ceravolo retired from the New Orleans police department in 2013 after 25 years on the force. He was named as being one of several officers who shot and killed Anthony Hayes. Ceravolo has said he wasn’t aware that he was named in the lawsuit.

5 Facts About Will Smith's Career:

In His Career, He Played 9 Seasons with New Orleans Saints

       Will Smith was picked his 18 with the first round of the NFL draft in 2004 and went on to play for the New Orleans Saints until 2012. In his Team, he played as a defensive end, but a knew injury in 2013 left him sidelined for the entire season. 

Will Smith was the 3rd highest paid defensive end…ever!

       In 2008, the New Orleans Saints agreed to Will Smith's $70 million contract for six years, with $26 million guaranteed. This made him one of the highest-paid defensive end player in NFL history.

Will Smith was highly dedicated to charity work

       Will Smith started the Organization named “Where There’s a Will There’s a Way”, which is dedicated to providing at-risk kids with educational and athletic opportunities. During the holidays, Will Smith hosted the “Smith Family Christmas” event , in this 60 at-need families received gifts, a holiday meal, and a tour of the Saints practice facility. He was also on the board of the Artists and Athletes Alliance.

He's a Super Bowl Winner

       In 2009 Super Bowl for the New Orleans Sanits, Will Smith played as defensive end.This was the year they had their historic victory, thanks in part to Will Smith.

Will Smith was going to be inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame

       On May 17, 2016, The New Orleans Saints revealed that Will Smith had unanimously been selected to join the team’s Hall of Fame in 2016. The induction ceremony is still happening, but no word as to when.

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