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Will Smith Shooting: Grand Jury Indicts Man Arrested in Former Saints Player's Slaying

by Erik Ortiz /  / Updated 
Image: Cardell Hayes, Will Smith
Cardell Hayes, left, alleged gunman that killed Saints player Will Smith, right.New Orleans PD; Getty Images

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A grand jury has indicted the driver suspected of gunning down former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith earlier this month during a traffic dispute.

The indictment against Cardell Hayes, 28, was read in court Thursday during a probable cause hearing. He faces one count of aggravated assault with a handgun and second-degree murder, as well as one count of attempt to commit second-degree murder against Smith's wife, Racquel.

Image: Cardell Hayes, Will Smith
Cardell Hayes, left, alleged gunman that killed Saints player Will Smith, right.New Orleans PD; Getty Images

She was struck in both of her legs during the late night April 9 altercation, and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the family's lawyer said.

Police said the incident began when Hayes's Hummer hit Smith's Mercedes SUV from behind, prompting Hayes to follow Smith when he drove away. They got into an argument about two blocks away.

A Smith family lawyer said Racquel Smith had begged for Hayes to "leave us alone," adding that she put her hands up to him and said: "Go back to your car. We have children. This is not worth this."

Hayes was arrested at the scene on suspicion of second-degree murder and has been held on $1 million bond. Police said they retrieved a second gun that was not used in his Hummer.

A lawyer for Hayes has said repeatedly that his client was not the aggressor and that the truth will come out during the investigation.

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A lawyer for the Smith family has described Hayes as "enraged" during the shooting and portrayed his clients as the victims.

Smith, 34, was buried a week after he was killed, and was remembered by his family, friends and the football community as a man who wanted to make a difference in his adopted city of New Orleans.

The former first-round pick played 10 seasons with the Saints as a linebacker and defensive end until 2013.

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