Will Smith, the former Saints defensive end, was killed and a woman was wounded in a late-night shooting in New Orleans on Saturday (April 9), according to two law enforcement sources and a Saints source with direct knowledge of the incident.
He was 34.
The double shooting took place around 11:29 p.m., near the intersection of Sophie Wright and Felicity streets in the Lower Garden District, NOPD said.
Police, who has not officially identified the fatal victim as Smith, said the victim and his wife were traveling eastbound on Sophie Wright Place when their Mercedes Benz SUV was rear-ended by a Hummer H2. The collision caused the Smith’s vehicle to hit a Chevrolet Impala traveling along the same street.
Smith and the driver of the Hummer “exchanged words, at which time the driver of the Hummer produced a handgun and shot the male victim multiple times and his 34-year-old wife twice in the right leg,” said NOPD spokesman Juan Barnes.
Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was transported to a hospital, authorities said. Police said the 30-year-old driver of the Hummer is in custody and being interviewed by investigators. The gun used in the shooting has been recovered.
A witness at the scene, Janis Baehr, a tourist in town for the French Quarter Festival, said she was walking near the intersection and heard the crash and then six to eight gunshots. “It was a crash, boom, band,” she said. She then saw a woman down on the pavement and went to her aid, giving her ice chips.
The witness said the woman appeared to have two gunshot wounds to her leg. “I kept her company until the paramedics came because she was screaming,” Baehr said.
The woman was taken away by ambulance.
A man, who would only give his first name as Michael, said he was on the street and heard the crash, followed by gunshots. He said he took cover in nearby bushes with his dogs.
A woman, who lived near the scene, but declined to give her name, said she heard noises outside and saw a woman arguing with a man, but when she heard gunshots, she ran back inside of her house.
Smith was slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle, which appears to have a gunshot hole in the windshield.
New Orleans police and the coroner’s office are still on the scene investigating.