As former LSU football standout La’el Collins awaits a likely selection in Thursday’s NFL draft, Baton Rouge police detectives want to interview him as part of an investigation into the recent fatal shooting of a pregnant woman.
Collins, a 21-year-old Baton Rouge native and Redemptorist High School graduate, was not named as a suspect in the death of 29-year-old Brittney Mills, who was fatally shot Friday night in the doorway of her apartment on Ship Drive.
“There are numerous other people who are going to be interviewed,” said Lt. Johnny Dunnam, a Baton Rouge police spokesman. “So he is one of many.”
Dunnam said police are aware Collins and Mills were associates, but the extent of the relationship between the two wasn’t immediately clear. Police tried earlier this week to reach Collins, and investigators are now working with Collins’ agent and attorney to schedule an interview, Dunnam said.
Jim Boren, Collins’ attorney, said the former LSU offensive lineman will stay in Chicago until he is finished with NFL draft activities. Collins will then return to Baton Rouge and meet with police, Boren said.
Collins, an All-SEC lineman who started as LSU’s left tackle the past two seasons, is ranked as the third-best offensive tackle in this year’s draft, according to CBSSports.com. He is a projected first-round pick, which often comes with a multimillion-dollar signing bonus.
Boren, Collins’ attorney, said a private investigative company recently was hired to determine Collins’ whereabouts on Friday — when Mills was shot — and Boren said he believes the resulting alibi will rule out Collins as a possible suspect in Mills’ death. Boren declined to comment about the nature of the relationship between Collins and Mills.
Meantime, the investigation into the fatal shooting remains ongoing. Police have no suspects in her death, Dunnam said, and he said he could not comment about the paternity of Mills’ newborn son.
Police have said previously it appeared Mills was shot by someone she knew. A preliminary investigation indicated she opened her door to someone who wanted to use her car Friday night and was shot multiple times after she refused the request.
When first responders arrived shortly after 10:30 p.m. to her apartment in the 200 block of Ship Drive, located south of Florida Boulevard near Lobdell Drive, Mills was already dead. Still, she was rushed to a hospital where her unborn son was successfully delivered. The baby is expected to survive, police have said.
Brittney Mills’ sister, Tia T. Mills, said Tuesday that she ate dinner with her younger sister just hours before the shooting.
“That’s when I was able to have my last moments with her,” Tia Mills said. “And I didn’t even realize it.”
Mills said her family is mourning the loss of her younger sister, whom she described as a beautiful, giving and selfless woman.
“She left behind two kids,” Mills said, referring to her sister’s 10-year-old daughter and newborn son. “They’re going to grow up without their mom, and they didn’t deserve that.”
Brittney Mills was loved by many people, her sister said, and now their family is looking for answers.
“We need whomever is out there that knows anything to speak up and say something,” Tia Mills said, “because I know that their conscience has got to be heavy on them.”
When asked how Brittney Mills knew La’el Collins, Tia Mills said she could not comment on details about the investigation into her sister’s death.
“I’m going to let that play out the way it’s supposed to,” Mills said.
Follow Ben Wallace on Twitter, @_BenWallace. Advocate staff writer Ross Dellenger contributed to this report.