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18-year-old fatally shot by LSU player was attempting armed robbery, police say

By Glenn Guilbeau, USA TODAY Network

BATON ROUGE — LSU football players Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jared Small were attempting to sell electronics in an area of north Baton Rouge known for burglary and theft when one of them apparently shot and killed 18-year-old Kobe Johnson, who was attempting an armed robbery, Baton Rouge Police said Sunday morning.

Johnson, who died at the scene Saturday afternoon, “pulled out a weapon and demanded their belongings” while in the back seat of a truck in which Edwards-Helaire and Small were in the front seat, according to a release by Baton Rouge police information officer, Sgt. L’Jean McKneely Jr.

Johnson, who lived a few blocks from where the shooting happened at the 2900 block of 68th Avenue in the Scotlandville community, “was shot during an attempted robbery of two LSU student-athletes,” the release said.

“The student-athletes were attempting to sell an electronic item. One of the student-athletes was able to pull out a handgun and fire, striking Johnson multiple times,” the release said.

Edwards-Helaire, a sophomore tailback for LSU who is its second leading rusher with 626 yards and seven touchdowns, and Small, a freshman walk-on reserve linebacker, were questioned for several hours Saturday afternoon at the violent crimes unit at state police headquarters in Baton Rouge. They were released and not charged Saturday night. Both went to Catholic High in Baton Rouge.

One of the players called 911 after the shooting, and each waited for police to arrive.

McKneely said Sunday morning he knew of no previous criminal record for Johnson, who lived at 2825 Kaufman St. in Scotlandville.

“This shooting is still under investigation,” McKneely said.

Attorney Christopher Murell, who is among those representing Edwards-Helaire and Small, could not be reached for comment. He has said in other media reports that the LSU player who shot Johnson reacted in self defense, making the homicide justifiable.

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva released a statement Saturday.

“We have been in constant contact with law enforcement regarding this terrible situation,” Alleva said. “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.”

This article originally appeared in the Daily Advertiser (part of the USA Today Network).

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