Father of suspect in Will Smith's murder was killed by police after Katrina

Father of suspect in Will Smith's murder was killed by police after Katrina

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Cardell Hayes is the man police say shot and killed former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith and wounded the former NFL player's wife late Saturday. Sunday police fielded lots of questions about the fact that Hayes filed suit against the City of New Orleans after cops shot and killed his mentally-unstable, knife-wielding father on a city street soon after Katrina and whether that may have played a role in his alleged gun violence.

Hayes' attorney told reporters Sunday there is more to the alleged road rage incident and that there may have been an earlier accident Saturday evening in which one of the drivers in Smith's group sped away and Hayes followed to get the driver's information, and that Hayes even dialed 911.

Still as New Orleans police dig deeper they are not overlooking the high profile police shooting that affected Cardell Hayes and his family in December 2005, only months after Katrina.

"We're not ready to talk about motive, we're not ready to talk about how, or why this happened," said New Orleans Police Supt. Michael Harrison.

Amateur video showed Hayes' father, Anthony Hayes holding a knife after leaving a St. Charles Avenue pharmacy on Dec. 26, 2005.  The video also captured police surrounding Hayes as he clutched the weapon.  He was shot and killed by police on the street.

Cardell Hayes sued the city of New Orleans for damages alleging that officers should have used non-lethal force.

The shooting of the elder Hayes made national headlines as people questioned why all NOPD patrolmen did not have tasers.

After police fatally wounded Anthony Hayes the then police chief said officers repeatedly tried to get Hayes to drop a three-inch hunting knife.

"Those officers I assure in this incident, did not want to harm Mr. Hayes and it was not done until one of the officer's life was in danger," said then Supt. Warren Riley.

The NOPD said then that three of the officers who were part of a human chain surrounding Hayes fired nine shots.

The suit filed by Cardell Hayes was later settled.

Sunday, Chief Harrison was asked whether there could be a link between that incident and the weekend violence.

"That is interesting and right now we're investigating the homicide, all of those facts, perhaps we'll ask questions about those and maybe see if there's any correlation, but right now there's no information right now to suggest that any of that had any reason, or played in any factor into this shooting," said Chief Harrison.

Shortly before Smith was shot in the Lower Garden District he dined with retired NOPD Capt. Billy Ceravolo.  Ceravolo was among the officers named as defendants in the lawsuit Hayes filed following his father's death.

Chief Harrison did not say if Ceravolo was on the scene when Smith was killed.

"To my knowledge we had a former NOPD officer who was at some point with the acquaintances, but we don't have the information that at that point he may have been with them," said Chief Harrison.

"The police have to do their due diligence, but at the end of the day it's not going to matter.  This guy is going to be charged with what he did in the few seconds leading up to the shooting," said FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Hayes' attorney said his client did not know Smith.

"This isn't a Lifetime Movie, I don't think there's going to be any connection, it's just a strange circumstance, a coincidence, this is a big small town, I don't think this is going to be anything, this was road rage," said Raspanti.

An NOPD spokesman said all officers now carry tasers.

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