WWL-TV out of New Orleans has released a photo of fomer-Saints' DE Will Smith and RB Pierre Thomas out to dinner in the Lower Garden District with former-New Orleans Police officer Billy Ceravolo just an hour before Smith's life was claimed in a fatal shooting.
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
Earlier today, Sporting News reported that Hayes' father, Arthur, was shot and killed by police in 2005 outside of a downtown pharmacy after he wielded a knife during an argument with an employee of the pharmacy. The Hayes family sued the precinct in 2011, stating that Arthur was "mentally unstable" and police should have used non-lethal force to subdue him. Just before the case went to court, the two parties settled outside of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
The aforementioned Ceravolo was one of the parties named in the federal suit against NOPD. Ceravolo was apparently not aware of this fact, The Advocate reported. Ceravolo, a captain during his time with the New Orleans Police Department, was named by Hayes as one of the officers who shot his father. Ceravolo told various outlets that Thomas and Smith were personal friends. Ceravolo was not at the scene of the crime when the shooting took place.
The shooting that took the life of Smith occured in an area familiar to Hayes. His father was shot and killed by police just mere blocks from where he claimed the life of Smith in what police have initially referred to as "a road rage incident".
Hayes has been charged with second-degree murder.