A story recently rocked the NFL world, as former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot and killed in New Orleans. A man named Cardell Hayes was quickly arrested and accused of the shooting, which he has not attempted to deny. Reports have continued to come out with new details and the most recent development is that a lawyer has said the shooting was justified.
The lawyer in question is not working with Hayes directly, but with another passenger who was in the Hummer that Hayes was driving. His statement appears to come from information that he got from that passenger, who was not charged or arrested. He was detained for a short time to be questioned, but police let him go after they spoke to him.
The lawyer claims that Hayes shot Smith to protect himself, even saying that the shooting may have saved the lives of Hayes and his passenger. He said that Smith had a handgun himself -— one was later found in Smith's vehicle -— and that the shooting was warranted because Hayes and the passenger were going to be shot if they did nothing.
The incident seems to have stemmed from a pair of fender-benders, though there are conflicting reports about the true cause. The two vehicles appeared to collide in traffic, causing the men to get out and presumably argue before the shooting, and a video shows what may have been another, prior collision before that one.
One thing worth noting is that the police have not found evidence that the firearm from Smith's vehicle was fired, though it was loaded and it was at the scene of the shooting.
Hit and Run
Another important point that the lawyer made was in calling the initial accident a hit and run. The video appears to show Smith running into the back of Hayes' Hummer, which stops abruptly, for no reason that can be seen on camera. Hayes then starts pulling off the road, and Smith drives around him. The Hummer follows, and the second accident happened when the Hummer apparently ran into the back of Smith's SUV. The shooting took place after that crash.
Sorting It Out
This case may have seemed simple at first, with one accident and a shooting that appeared to be tied to road rage, but it has gotten more complicated with every report. Sorting out exactly why the accident happened and whether or not threats were made will help determine the eventual outcome. As such, this case shows why it is vital to gather all evidence before reaching a verdict.
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