Gun was recovered from scene of Smith murder

Posted at 2:17 PM, Apr 20, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The first officer to arrive on the scene of the shooting death of former Saints player Will Smith found a gun on the hood of a vehicle with the empty magazine removed and one round in the chamber, New Orleans police said Wednesday.

The news came in an incident report from the night of the shooting that was released by police.

Smith was shot and killed April 9 in New Orleans. Police arrested Cardell Hayes, 28, on charges of second-degree murder.

Police said Hayes' Hummer hit Smith's Mercedes SUV from behind. An argument ensued, and Hayes then shot Smith and his wife, police said. Smith's wife survived.

In the report, police said the officer who arrived on the scene first found the gun — a .45-caliber Ruger — on the hood of the Hummer with the empty magazine removed. One round was in the gun's chamber. The officer also found a black holster, the report said.

When the officer arrived, she detained several witnesses in addition to two possible perpetrators, the report said. The names of the witnesses or perpetrators were not in the report, but authorities have already said a passenger riding with Hayes was questioned and released.

The officer also saw a male victim — presumably Smith — partially inside the front driver's side of the vehicle. The officer saw another victim — presumably his wife, Racquel — laying on the ground screaming for help, the report said.

The report gave few other details of what transpired during a chaotic night that left many in New Orleans grieving for one of their team's former greats.

Hayes is being held on $1 million bond. A lawyer for Hayes has said his client was not the aggressor and that the truth will come out. Smith's family has described Hayes as "enraged" and portrayed his clients as the victims.

Meanwhile, the Smith family took out a full-page advertisement in The Times-Picayune newspaper thanking fans, the Saints organization, hospital staff and many others for their support. The family said that the past week has been "unimaginable" but that they have gotten through with their memories of Smith and help from the "people of New Orleans."