LAWYER, coroner offer new DETAILS in SMITH SHOOTING
NEW ORLEANS — An enraged Hummer driver chased down former Saints defensive end Will Smith's Mercedes, deliberately rammed the SUV from behind, confronted him in the street and then shot him eight times, yelling over his dying body as his wounded wife tried to crawl away, the Smith family's lawyer, Peter Thomson, said Wednesday. The coroner's report, released Wednesday, said seven bullets hit his back and one hit the left side of his chest. Thomson's version was based on the recollections of Racquel Smith, who was shot in both legs, and other witnesses. Police are sorting through facts, witness statements and videos. A lawyer for Hummer driver Cardell Hayes, who is charged with murder, said his client was not the aggressor. It's not in dispute that there was an earlier incident, when the Smiths either just avoided hitting Hayes' Hummer or barely touched it, and kept driving. Thomson said the Hummer braked suddenly in front of them. Hayes' lawyer, John Fuller, described it as a hit-and-run and that Hayes then followed the Smiths to read their license plate number just before the confrontation. Thomson said after Smith's vehicle was hit, he got out to ask why he and his wife were being attacked, then as his wife, trying to defuse things, was leading him back to the vehicle, Hayes shot her, then Smith.
USF softball's Bissette diagnosed with cancer
USF announced Wednesday that sophomore softball player Meredith Bissette, who has played 32 games over the past two seasons, was diagnosed with cancer and returned to her family in North Carolina. She'll soon begin extensive radiation treatment in Boston. According to a GoFundMe.com page set up for her, Bissette has chordoma cancer, which occurs in the bones of the head and spine in people of all ages. According to chordomafoundation.org, the median survival for chordoma patients in the United States is about seven years. The softball program will host a fundraiser for the Bissette family on May 8. For more, visit tampabay.com/blogs/bulls.
MUTOMBO NEPHEW TO FSU: Mfiondu Kabengele, the nephew of former NBA standout Dikembe Mutombo, signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Florida State. Kabengele, a 6-foot-9 forward from Burlington, Ontario, averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds this past season at Don Bosco Prep in Crown Point, Indiana. He also had offers from Wisconsin, Georgetown, Kansas State, Georgia and Boston College.
MORE COLLEGES: Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Lynn Swann was named athletic director at Southern Cal. There were more than 200 candidates. Swann, 64, the third straight former USC football player to get the post, succeeds Pat Haden on July 1. He has no experience in college athletic administration. … Australian basketball guard Dejan Vasiljevic signed a letter of intent with Miami. He has extensive international experience. … Utah sophomore center Jakob Poeltl is leaving for the NBA draft.
Tennis: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic suffered his earliest loss in three years, falling to 55th-ranked Jiri Vesely 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco. Vesely, 22, had never beaten a top-10 player. "I wasn't feeling any freshness," Djokovic said. No. 6 Tomas Berdych lost to 99th-ranked Damir Dzumhur 6-4, 6-7 (1-7), 6-3.
Soccer: Antoine Griezmann scored in each half to give host Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win over defending champion Barcelona and a spot in the semifinals of the Champions League. Atletico reversed a 2-1 first-leg loss with a 3-2 aggregate victory. The defeat ended Barcelona's hopes of repeating the treble of Champions League, Copa del Rey and Spanish league titles.
Joey Knight, Times staff writer; Times wires