Two LSU football players released by police; attorney cites 'act of self-defense'

Two LSU football players were questioned by police for several hours about a fatal shooting Saturday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and later released without arrest.

The victim, who was not an LSU athlete, was found shot dead in the backseat of a truck in the Scotlandville area of town, police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely told the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Attorneys for the players, sophomore running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and walk-on linebacker Jared Small, told the Advocate that the shooting happened in self-defense. The athletes called 911 and waited at the scene, McKneely told the newspaper.

"We believe this is an act of self-defense, and the evidence will show that," said Christopher Murell, one of the three attorneys representing Edwards-Helaire and Small.

McKneely did not identify anyone involved in the shooting. He said two guns were recovered from the scene. Charges are not expected, he said.

"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," LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement. "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 (ESPN, 1 p.m. ET).