Police: LSU players involved in shooting acted in self-defense

Two LSU football players involved in a fatal shooting Saturday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were the victims of an attempted robbery who acted in self-defense by shooting the man who was allegedly trying to rob them, Baton Rouge police said Sunday morning.

Police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely said in a statement that the two student-athletes, who have been identified as sophomore running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and walk-on linebacker Jared Small, were attempting to sell an electronic item in the Scotlandville area of Baton Rouge when the man, Kobe Johnson, pulled out a weapon and demanded their belongings.

One of the players then pulled out a handgun and shot Johnson multiple times. Johnson died at the scene, McKneely said.

Edwards-Helaire and Small were questioned by police for several hours before being released without arrest.

Attorneys for the players had previously told the Baton Rouge Advocate that the shooting was in self-defense.

The shooting remains under investigation, the police spokesperson said. He previously told the Advocate that charges were not expected.

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva addressed the shooting in a statement Saturday.

"We have today been in constant contact with law enforcement regarding this terrible situation. Right now, our concern is for the safety and well-being of our student-athletes," Alleva said. "They have been involved in a traumatic incident, and we have made our counselors available to assist immediately. All questions regarding the investigation should be directed to law enforcement at this time."

Edwards-Helaire is LSU's second-leading rusher this season, with 626 yards and seven touchdowns on 136 carries. He and Small are both graduates of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge.

The 11th-ranked Tigers meet No. 8 UCF in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.