NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - FOX 8 has learned that former Saints player Will Smith and his wife, Racquel, ate at a restaurant on Magazine Street and left just before 11:30 Saturday night. And with that information, we learned what may have happened from the time Smith left the restaurant until his death.
Less than 10 minutes after he left the restaurant, police say Smith encountered his accused killer, Cardelle Hayes. From the beginning, Hayes' acting attorney, John Fuller, claimed it's too early to jump to conclusions.
"Prior to the actions that lead to Mr. Smith's death, my client was involved in a hit and run," Fuller said. "Someone hit him and failed to pull over. My client trailed behind this person in an effort to get their license plate number. My client also called 911."
To check Fuller's account, we backtracked from the shooting scene to the restaurant and found surveillance video from three different businesses showing what appears to be a Hummer and a Mercedes SUV driving along Magazine Street. Police say those vehicles match the descriptions of the Hummer driven by Hayes and the Mercedes driven by Smith.
Just before 11:30 p.m., you can see the Hummer and then the Mercedes pass the intersection of Magazine and Washington. Fast forward to the intersection of Magazine and Jackson Avenue, minutes before the shooting, and surveillance video shows a Hummer at the red light followed, again, by a Mercedes SUV.
Remember - Hayes drove a Hummer and Smith drove a Mercedes SUV.
Then, near the intersection of Magazine and St. Andrew, more surveillance video captures the Hummer stopping abruptly after possibly getting bumped from behind by a Mercedes SUV. The two vehicles stop for a moment, and then the Hummer appears to try to pull over to the side of the road. Instead of stopping, the driver of the Mercedes SUV drives into the opposite lane of traffic and speeds away. The Hummer takes off after the SUV in the direction of Sophie Wright and Felicity Street, which is a block and a half away.
That's where Smith was killed and his wife sustained two gunshot wounds to her leg.
"What matters is those few seconds before the gunshots went off and a few other things, but what happened 20 minutes ago I don't think is even admissible, and I don't think it's relevant," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.
In addition to the second-degree murder charge Hayes faces, the NOPD confirms they'll soon add another charge for the shooting of Racquel Smith. A police spokesman couldn't say if that charge will be for aggravated battery or attempted second-degree murder.