The details in the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith are starting to trickle out, and the senseless murder is starting to look like retaliation for something that happened over a decade ago.
On Saturday night Cardale Hayes was driving a Hummer H2 that struck the back bumper of Smith’s Mercedes in a quiet New Orleans neighborhood.
Smith, 34, was shot to death inside his Mercedes SUV — after the two men allegedly “exchanged words.” The Advocate is reporting that Hayes filed a lawsuit against the city of New Orleans after police officers killed his father in a December 2005 incident.
According to reports — one of the defendants mentioned in that lawsuit had dinner with Smith and Pierre Thomas shortly before the shooting.
Hayes’ father, Anthony, was mentally unstable and had gotten into an argument with an employee at a St. Charles Avenue pharmacy while holding a pocket knife when officers shot and killed him, officials said. Hayes, now 28, sued for damages, alleging that officers should have used non-lethal force — such as a stun gun — to subdue his father, but none of the cops had such a tool.
The litigation was settled in 2011 for an undisclosed amount of money that could be described as “large,” said attorney Ike Spears, who represented Hayes in that matter but is not involved in the Smith case.
One of the defendants named in the lawsuit Hayes filed against the city was Billy Ceravolo, who retired from the New Orleans Police Department as a captain in 2013 after 25 years on the force. The lawsuit accused Ceravolo of being among several officers to fatally shoot Anthony Hayes.
Ceravolo on Sunday said he was eating dinner with Smith and former Saints running back Pierre Thomas at a restaurant in the Lower Garden District shortly before authorities said Smith was rear-ended by Cardell Hayes, 28, on a nearby street.
Police allege that Hayes fatally shot Smith and wounded his wife, Racquel, during an argument that erupted after the collision.
Ceravolo was not at the scene of the shooting, and told authorities that he wasn’t aware Hayes had named him in the lawsuit.
Hayes did not flee the scene and was detained by police and taken in for questioning.