Will Smith, a former defensive end for the New Orleans Saints, was reportedly shot and killed Saturday night following a three-car traffic collision. He was 34.
Smith was driving in New Orleans with his wife, Racquel, at the time of the accident. He was reportedly shot multiple times after exchanging words with the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended him, according to ESPN. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was shot twice in the right leg and taken to the hospital.
ET has confirmed that 28-year-old Cardell Hayes has been charged with second-degree murder in Smith's death. The handgun used in the shooting has allegedly been recovered
"On behalf of the Smith family, we are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers," Smith's family said in a statement to ESPN. "We ask that you continue to respect the family's privacy as they grieve the loss of a devoted husband, father and friend."
Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, also confirmed the news over Twitter on Sunday.
"A senseless and tragic loss," he wrote. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Will Smith -- his wife Racquel -- his children William, Wynter and Lisa."
A senseless and tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with Will Smith - his wife Racquel - his children William, Wynter and Lisa.
Smith played in Super Bowl XLIV with the New Orleans Saints in 2010, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31 to 17. Before being drafted to the Saints as the 18th pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft, he played college football for the Ohio State University. While attending and playing football for Thomas R. Proctor High School in Utica, New York, he was named two-time All-Mohawk Valley Football Player of the year as a junior and senior, which led to his induction into the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Upon hearing the tragic news, Smith’s friends, fans and former teammates took to Twitter to pay their respects to the former NFL pro.
Heavy Hearts w the senseless passing of our Team Capt. Will Smith. Pray for his wife's recovery and their children. pic.twitter.com/VomR0Sut6M