Sunday, April 10 1:15 PM ET
Sporting News is now reporting that in 2005, Hayes' "mentally unstable" father was shot and killed by police after wielding a knife during an argument outside of a New Orleans pharmacy. Over 12 officers responded, first peppers spraying Hayes' father before shots were eventually fired. During the trial, video evidence was said to have shown Hayes' father backing away and attempting to flee.
In 2011, the family sued and right before the case was set to go to trial, Hayes' family settled out of court with New Orleans PD for an undisclosed amount of money, though the sum was said to be large.
Update: Hayes' lawyer confirms he received multi-million $ settlement from city after NOPD shot his father in strange 2005 incident. @wdsu— Travers Mackel (@TraversMackel) April 10, 2016
More: Hayes father was wielding a knife on St. Charles Ave when cops shot and killed him. He was mentally ill. @wdsu— Travers Mackel (@TraversMackel) April 10, 2016
Sources have now confirmed that Billy Ceravolo, one of the officers named in the suit, was out to dinner with Smith and former-Saints' RB Pierre Thomas last night "not long before the shooting".
Check back for more updates.
A photo of former Saints Pierre Thomas and Will Smith with friend Billy Ceravolo 1 hour before the fatal shooting. pic.twitter.com/hHNiuS6rgI— WWL-TV (@WWLTV) April 10, 2016
Tragedy struck New Orleans, the Saints organization and the NFL late Saturday night when former-Saint Will Smith was murdered in cold blood after Smith and another driver exchanged words following a traffic collision, words that soon turned violent, resulting in the shooting death of Smith.
Thanks to excellent police work, we now know who the other driver was: Cardell Hayes, 28. Hayes was the man behind the wheel of the Hummer H2 that rear-ended Smith’s SUV and the man who pulled the trigger, ending Smith’s life. What we do not know is why he did this. But, as the hours tick by, more information about the once-unknown Hayes is starting to surface regarding his past.
So, who is Cardell Hayes?
Our friends at the Time-Picayune unearthed that Hayes was once a high school football start in New Orleans. According to the report, Scout.com at one time had Hayes ranked among the top prep football players in the entire state in 2004. Schools such as LSU and Florida took notice of the talent, though “the Times-Picayune notes it’s not clear where Hayes ended up playing college football, if anywhere,” according to Deapsin.
Will Smith's alleged murderer is a former high school football star: https://t.co/8DZydkc1Y4— Deadspin (@Deadspin) April 10, 2016
Images obtained from Hayes Facebook account also show that the former-prep star was also an extra in the hit movie 22 Jump Street, featuring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Hayes was a member of the fictional ‘MC State’ football team Tatum’s character Greg Jenko played on.
This is not the first time Hayes has had a run-in with the law, although his previous encounters were nowhere near as serious as this one is. In 2012, Hayes was arrested for and subsequently plead guilty to a weapons charge and possession of codeine syrup. He would spend 6 months in prison following a long legal battle. In 2014, he plead guilty as a first-time offender to illegally carrying a firearm and drug paraphernalia, resulting in a 6-month probation sentence.
Hayes has been arrested and is being held at the New Orleans Parish Prison. At 8:00 AM this morning, New Orleans police officially booked him, charging him with second-degree murder. Police have also recovered the murder weapon. There is no word on when a trial will take place.