NFL star Will Smith shot eight times in New Orleans

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New Video, Details Emerge Surrounding Shooting Death of NFL Star Will Smith

April 13 (Reuters) - Retired NFL player Will Smith, who was killed during the weekend after a traffic collision in New Orleans, was shot in the back several times in an apparent homicide, the city coroner said on Wednesday.

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Smith, 34, one of the National Football League's top defensive ends while playing for the New Orleans Saints, had a fully loaded 9mm handgun in his Mercedes SUV when he was shot dead late Saturday by Cardell Hayes, 28, who was driving a Hummer, according to police.

Surveillance video posted online by news media outlets showed a Mercedes SUV that appears to slightly bump a Hummer from behind. The Hummer then pulled over toward the curb while the Mercedes drove off. The Hummer then followed in pursuit.

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Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith throughout his career
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NFL star Will Smith shot eight times in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 16: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints anticipates a play during a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 16, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 28-20. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 25: Ben Tate #44 of the Houston Texans rushes past Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints at Reliant Stadium on August 25, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 16: Matt Flynn #15 of the Oakland Raiders is sacked by Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints during a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 16, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
METAIRIE, LA - MAY 23: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints participates in drills during organized team activities, OTA's, at the Saints training facility on May 23, 2013 in Metairie, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 09: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints walks off the field after a play against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 17: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 17, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 25: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 25, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
METAIRIE, LA - MAY 24: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints stretches during OTA's at the Saints Training Facility on May 24, 2012 in Metairie, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints walks to the sidelines during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Falcons 45-16. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 23: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints stands on the sideline during a game against the Indianapolis Colts being held at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 23, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Colts 62-7. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08: Will Smith #91 and Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints take the field against the Seattle Seahawks during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
METAIRE, LA - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints linebacker Will Smith (91) signs autographs after an NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Metairie, La., Tuesday, June 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
FILE - This Dec. 9, 2012 file photo shows New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. More than nine months after the NFL first disclosed its bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints, four players will finally get a ruling, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, on whether their initial suspensions are upheld, reduced or thrown out. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)
New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith stretches during practice at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. Smith is returning after serving a two-game suspension. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith answers questions at a news conference in Davie, Fla., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. The Saints will play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL Super Bowl XLIV Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Hayes' Hummer then rear-ended Smith's Mercedes, media reports said. Police said that led to an exchange of words and the shooting.

Police said the 9mm gun had been recovered from Smith's Mercedes and that there was no indication that it had been fired during the incident.

The gun was in a compartment in the vehicle the entire time of the incident, lawyer Peter Thomson said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Smith's wife, Racquel, was shot in the leg and taken to the hospital, police said.

Hayes, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to gun and drug charges, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, police said on Sunday. Police said they recovered the weapon used in the shooting.

Smith's death has been preliminarily classified as a homicide, a medical determination, a statement from New Orleans Coroner Jeffrey Rouse said.

Smith died at the scene of the shooting after being hit seven times in the back and once in the left lateral chest wall, the statement said. Many of the bullets perforated his vital organs, including the lungs and heart.

An analysis will be conducted to determine if there were any substances in Smith's system when he died, the statement said.

Investigators still were trying to determine whether the shooting was a case of road rage or whether there was another motive.

A male passenger was inside Hayes' car during the incident and was released after he cooperated with detectives, police said. Another male and female were inside Smith's vehicle.

Smith played a decade with the Saints before he was injured in 2013 and his contract was terminated in 2014. He was a prominent member of the 2010 Saints team that won the Super Bowl. (Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Bill Trott)


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