ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 30: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints looks on against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis won 31-21. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Off-duty police officer adds shocking layer to the alleged murder of former Pro Bowler Will Smith


Another twist has emerged in the case surrounding Will Smith's death, after he was shot and killed back in April over an alleged road rage incident.

The man who is facing second-degree murder charges, Cardell Hayes, has claimed self-defense, and the testimony of an off-duty cop seems to back up that claim.

Per ESPN Now's Mike Triplett:


"Off-duty NOPD officer who was first on the scene after Will Smith shooting said he found Smith's body slumped over driver's seat with feet pointed toward inside of vehicle and right hand extended toward the glove box."

While that certainly added a layer to the investigation, Hayes reportedly did admit exiting his vehicle after the crash with a gun in his hand:

Later, Triplett reported questions about what Hayes actually said the first time around:

"Cardell Hayes did not say anything about seeing a gun in Will Smith's possession during his first statement to homicide investigators. It sounded like Hayes said a woman was trying to pull Smith away from getting a gun from his car -- though Hayes' attorney and the homicide detective on the stand did not agree on whether that was what Hayes said. Hayes also said he was telling Smith, "Don't do that." And Hayes said, "I can't have my life taken away from me for nothing."

The investigation took a shocking twist Tuesday when reported Smith, one of the drivers in the reported accident that preluded the shooting, had a blood alcohol level "severely over the legal limit."

"One source said toxicology results, which have yet to be made public, put Smith's blood alcohol content at 0.24 percent, three times Louisiana's legal limit of 0.08 percent. The two sources discussed the report on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly."

Attorneys for Cardell Hayes have maintained he shot Will Smith in self-defense.


Three guns were reportedly recovered from the scene, including two from Hayes and a loaded handgun from Will Smith's vehicle (police maintain there is no indication that the former Pro Bowler fired the gun).

Will Smith's wife, Racquel Smith, was shot in the leg and treated for her injuries, while Will Smith was shot in the back and side following a reported road-rage incident and died shortly thereafter, according to the USA Today.

Detectives are reportedly reviewed surveillance video released by FOX 8 News in New Orleans, which appears to show former Pro Bowler Will Smith's vehicle striking Hayes' Hummer prior to the road-rage shooting that killed the former New Orleans Saints defender.

"Prior to the actions that led to Mr. Smith's death, my client was involved in a hit-and-run. Someone hit him. The person failed to pull over," Hayes' attorney, John Fuller said, per CBS. "My client trailed behind this person in an effort to get their license plate number. My client also called 9-1-1."

According to Hayes' attorney, per USA Today, the case is much more complex than the police have made it out to be as he points to Hayes calling 911 after being hit and convincing a witness to stay and speak with police.