Two football players for Louisiana State University were released from custody Saturday evening after being questioned by police about a fatal shooting earlier in the day, according to reports.

The attorney for the two players – running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and linebacker Jared Small – told authorities that his clients acted in self-defense in the incident, which occurred around midday in Baton Rouge, the Advocate of Baton Rouge reported.

"We believe this is an act of self-defense and the evidence will show that," attorney Christopher Murell, one of three representing the two players, told the paper.


The identity of the dead man has not been released. His body was found in the back seat of a white Chevrolet Silverado, according to the Advocate.

The two players were also inside the truck and made a 911 call after the shooting occurred, the newspaper reported.

After the players were released, Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. L’Jean McKneely told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the case remained under investigation, but “appears to be” a case of self-defense. Further details were not disclosed.

The university confirmed that the dead man was not a student-athlete at the school.

According to Baton Rouge's WAFB-TV, Joe Alleva, LSU vice chancellor and director of athletics, issued the following statement:

"We have today been in constant contact with law enforcement regarding this terrible situation," the statement read. "Right now, our concern is for the safety and well-being of our student-athletes. They have been involved in a traumatic incident and we have made our counselors available to assist immediately."

Edwards-Helaire is a top running back at LSU, having gained more than 600 yards this season, the Times-Picayune reported. He was still expected to play Jan. 1 when LSU faces the University of Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. LSU is ranked No. 11 in the nation in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls.

Small has appeared in only four games this season, the Times-Picayune reported.

Both players are natives of Baton Rouge and attended the same high school, reports said.