But neither police or defense lawyers have confirmed that another weapon had been found.
Furthermore, the unnamed witness who spoke after the shooting seemed to suggest there was only one gun he saw during the incident.
Just one hour before his death, Smith was pictured with former New Orleans Police Department commander Billy Ceravolo and former New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas.
It fueled speculation that the shooting was a revenge attack after it emerged that Ceravolo was named in Hayes’ lawsuit against the city for a police shooting that killed his father, Anthony Hayes, in 2005.
Anthony Hayes was shot dead just 500 yards away from where his son allegedly shot Smith 11 years later, with both shootings taking place on intersections of Felicity Street.
Hayes’ ex-attorney confirmed that the former police captain was one of the defendants in Hayes’ case against the city after his father was shot dead by police 11 years ago.
Ceravolo – a 25-year veteran of the force who retired in 2013 and was friends with Smith and Thomas – told WWLTV he was not at the scene of the shooting.
While Hayes’ first attorney, John Fuller, made no claim of self-defense during Haye’s first court appearance, he hinted at the strategy afterward, saying that his client was ‘not the aggressor.’
‘My client is claiming that he’s not guilty and that’s what he intends to show,’ Fuller said outside the courtroom on Sunday.
Fuller, who is set to start serving as a temporary judge in May, has been replaced by attorney Jay Daniels.
Smith was beloved by fans for his role in bringing a Super Bowl championship to New Orleans in 2009, though the defensive captain also found himself at the center of the NFL’s bounty probe in 2012.
Smith’s slaying rippled across the sports world, with figures from NBA star LeBron James to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offering their condolences. James said on Twitter: ‘So sad man. Good dude he was man!’
The Smith family said in a statement that they were thankful for the outpouring of support but requested privacy as the family grieves for a ‘devoted husband, father and friend.’ Will and Racquel Smith have three children.
The couple had been at the French Quarter festival, an event that features local music and food, in the hours before the shooting. He posted a photo of himself and his wife on Twitter and Instagram with the caption: ‘Having a blast at the #fqf2016 @ French Quarter Fest.’
Online court records show Hayes pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count each of possessing an illegal weapon and possessing drug paraphernalia.
The gun he had was legal, Fuller said after Sunday’s hearing, noting that police didn’t accuse him of any weapons charge. Police spokesman Tyler Gamble said the gun hadn’t been reported stolen, but tracing its actual history takes more time.
Hayes is not guilty of murder, Fuller said. ‘The story that’s real is different from the story that’s being put out there,’ he said.
Fuller said Hayes ran into the back of Smith’s Mercedes while following a hit-and-run driver who had rear-ended his Humvee and sped off. Fuller wouldn’t say whether Hayes identified the Mercedes as that vehicle.
Hayes called 911 after he was hit and convinced a witness who was about to leave to remain and talk to police, Fuller said. Gamble told The Associated Press in an email Sunday evening that he had no immediate information about the witness or the 911 call.
Hayes sued the New Orleans Police Department and six officers after police killed his father in 2005. The former officer who dined with Smith, William Ceravolo, was not present at the time of the crash, Gamble said.
Police settled the lawsuit in 2011. The settlement is confidential, said attorney Ike Spears, who represented Hayes in that suit.
Smith, a native of Queens, New York, played for Ohio State’s 2002 national championship team and graduated in 2005 with a degree in criminology.
Ohio State athletics has ‘lost one of its best’ — someone who led a defensive line that powered the team to the championship, the school said in a statement.
Smith was a first-round draft choice by New Orleans in 2004. He led the Saints with a career-high 13 sacks in 2009, when the club won its only Super Bowl. Smith’s 67 ½ career sacks rank fourth in Saints history.
He last played in an NFL regular season game in 2012. During the 2013 preseason, a knee injury forced him onto injured reserve. He was signed in the 2014 offseason by New England but did not make the Patriots’ regular season roster.
Smith was defensive captain for much of his career, but it was also that leadership role that landed him at the center of the NFL’s bounty probe in 2012. The league concluded that Smith and fellow defensive captain Jonathan Vilma helped run a locker-room pool that paid cash bonuses for heavy and even injurious hits.
Smith was initially suspended four games but, with three other players, successfully appealed their suspensions and were never compelled to miss games, even as Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended the entire 2012 season.
A year earlier, however, Smith served a two-game suspension that stemmed from findings in 2008 that he and several other NFL players used a weight-loss product called StarCaps, which contained a diuretic banned by the league because it was known to mask steroid use. That suspension was enforced after legal challenges spanning several seasons.
Off the field, Smith took an active role in trying to improve children’s lives, establishing a foundation called, Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way. Its stated mission is ‘to motivate, educate and provide opportunities for women and children.’
‘The Saints family is hurting and devastated as it has lost a member too young and too soon,’ Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement.
He was on track to graduate from Miami this summer with a master’s degree. He was part of the inaugural class in Miami’s Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program, an 18-month course of study that will issue degrees for the first time in July.
‘He was a wonderful student, easy going, well-liked, and respected by all of his classmates, faculty, and staff,’ Eugene W. Anderson, dean of the University of Miami School of Business, wrote in an email Monday to members of the school’s community.
A copy of the email was obtained by The Associated Press.
‘Very intelligent man that was working hard for his family,’ longtime NFL player Ryan Mundy, one of Smith’s classmates in the Miami MBA program, wrote on Twitter in reaction to Smith’s shooting.
Cardell Hayes, 28, was ordered held on $1 million bond Sunday night after police arrested him on a charge of second-degree murder.
Smith had been on Miami’s campus several times over the course of the program, which also incorporates distance-learning elements. The university said it would hold a memorial service for Smith in June, when the program is next scheduled to convene for on-campus meetings.
‘Please join me in offering our love, sympathy, and strength to Will’s family, particularly his wife Racquel, whom we wish a complete and speedy recovery, and their three children in this hour of unfathomable loss,’ Anderson wrote.