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New Orleans Police recover gun in Will Smith's vehicle, coroner confirms Smith shot 8 times

Police said that a search warrant led to them finding weapons in the vehicles of both men involved in Will Smith's April 9 shooting.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Police Department announced an update to their investigation on the shooting that claimed the life of former Saints defensive end Will Smith on Saturday night.

NOPD detectives executed a search warrant on Tuesday morning for Smith's Mercedes G63 and the suspect Cardell Hayes' Hummer H2, and recovered a fully loaded revolver inside Hayes' vehicle and a fully loaded 9-millimeter handgun inside Smith's vehicle.

On Wednesday, Smith's attorney addressed the media, pointing out that the handgun in Smith's vehicle remained in the vehicle during the altercation, according to Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com.

"That firearm was in the vehicle; it was never taken out, never brandished, never fired," Smith's attorney said. Smith's attorney also confirmed that Smith held a valid concealed carry license.

The attorney said that Smith's wife, Racquel, was shot first, and he believes that shooting was not an accident.

No bullet casings were discovered inside either vehicle and no ballistic evidence was recovered, according to police. Neither weapon was fired during the incident. Police said a search of a third vehicle, a Chevrolet Impala that Smith's vehicle slammed into, is pending.

The criminal investigation is still ongoing and evidence is still being reviewed. The Orleans Parish District Attorney's office will review all evidence and determine a proper route to prosecute or not.

The New Orleans Parish coroner, Jeffrey Rouse, M.D., released a statement Wednesday preliminarily ruling Smith's death a homicide. The autopsy revealed Smith suffered eight gunshot wounds.

"Seven of these wounds were penetrating in nature, with projectiles recovered and no corresponding exit wounds," Rouse said via his statement. "Many of these bullets perforated vital organs, including the lungs and heart."

Toxicology analysis has been completed on Smith, and results will be available in approximately eight weeks, according to Rouse.

Authorities confirmed the 34-year-old Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds on Camp Street in the city's Garden District last Saturday. Police said Hayes brandished a .45-caliber handgun and opened fire, striking Smith and his wife. Hayes stayed on scene until officers arrived after shots were fired at 11:29 p.m. and identified himself as the shooter.

At a press conference Sunday, New Orleans Police said Smith was driving a SUV then he was struck from behind by a car belonging to Hayes. Hayes and Smith reportedly exchanged words before the fatal shooting. Racquel Smith was also injured in the clash, and remains hospitalized with a fractured femur and other non-life threatening injuries.

Hayes has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bond, but police said an additional charge for Smith's wife is pending. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. Hayes' attorney, John Fuller, maintained that his client was "not the aggressor" in the altercation. Fuller has also called for a toxicology report for all parties involved. Smith's attorney refutes both points, claiming that Smith was not inebriated and not the aggressor. Hayes' weapon was also confiscated at the scene and every vehicle involved has been impounded for evidence.

Smith was a national champion at Ohio State in 2002 and was a Super Bowl champion with the Saints in 2009 following Hurricane Katrina. He played for the squad for 10 seasons, leading the team in sacks over a four-year period from 2005-09 and recording the fourth-most sacks in franchise history.

Hayes was one of the top prep football players in the state of Louisiana in 2004. He was also an extra in the movie 22 Jump Street. Nicknamed "Bear," Hayes was playing for the Gridiron Developmental Football League as recently as last year.