After Cardell Hayes was charged with second-degree murder for the shooting of former Saints defensive end Will Smith following a three-car accident in New Orleans over the weekend, his attorney, John Fuller, suggested that his client was not the aggressor of the altercation and that he was actually the victim of a hit-and-run before the violent shooting. While that possibility does not change the fact that Cardell Hayes allegedly shot and killed Smith, it could prove to be a mitigating factor in the level of homicide charges or conviction he may ultimately face. ABC News has obtained what it believes to be video of the prior hit-and-run incident, captured by surveillance cameras from a restaurant two blocks away from the shooting.
The cars involved in the video—a red/orange Hummer H2 and a Mercedes SUV—match the cars involved in the later accident and shooting. The Hummer appears to stop abruptly in the middle of the street. There is no crosswalk, stop sign, or traffic lights visible, and there could have been any number of reasons the driver of the Hummer stopped short, from a pedestrian to a cat in the street, but this is also pretty classic road rage behavior. The Hummer appeared to be inviting the contact, and when it pulled over, the Mercedes drove around and kept going, and the Hummer followed.
We still don't know what happened before this footage, and police have not confirmed the video, but we know what happened after. According to Fuller, his client called 911 after the hit-and-run, and while he was on the phone the three-car accident occurred. Then Hayes shot Smith several times, killing him and injuring Smith's wife, Racquel. Fuller also implied his client and "everybody out there felt threatened by someone other than Mr. Hayes." Hayes plans on pleading not guilty.