Police continue to investigate the fatal shooting of a student from the University of New Mexico by a New Mexico State University basketball player hours before a men’s basketball game between the rival schools that was later postponed.
Police said Brandon Travis, a 19-year-old UNM student, was fatally shot by Mike Peake, a member of the NMSU basketball team, at approximately 3 a.m. Saturday outside a dormitory on the UNM campus. Peake, 21, was wounded in what police described as an ambush turned shootout and is listed in stable condition at a nearby hospital. Travis was declared dead at the scene.
“The entire Lobo community is shaken by the incident and we mourn the death of one of our students and the injuries sustained by another individual,” UNM President Garnett Stokes said in a statement. “I cannot express how deeply saddened I am by this tragedy on so many levels.”
New Mexico State University Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu said, “NMSU personnel have been in contact with investigators and have been cooperating with law enforcement throughout.”
Authorities say Peake traveled with the team from Las Cruces to Albuquerque and was headquartered at the DoubleTree Hotel when he was lured out after curfew expecting to meet with a 17-year-old girl, he’d been texting. The girl identified as Mya Hill also knew Travis, who along with two other accomplices, ambushed Peake in an act of revenge.
A month earlier, Peake and Travis exchanged blows in a huge brawl on the concourse of Aggie Memorial Stadium at the NMSU-UNM Football game in Las Cruces. A video by @tioneomo emerged of what appears to be Peake fighting with Travis and several others with Travis being beaten to the point of unconsciousness.
The attack at UNM was believed to be retribution with one of the assailants hitting Peake on the knee with a baseball bat and Travis pointing a gun to Peake’s head. Somehow Peake was running away when he, pulled a gun from his waist and exchanged shots with Travis. Peake was hit in the leg. Travis was killed.
One of the suspected assailants, Jonathan Smith, 19, was released from jail on Wednesday, according to a KOAT Action News article. A state district judge denied the prosecutor’s request for him to remain in custody while awaiting trial. Smith is charged with aggravated battery, conspiracy, and tampering with evidence, according to multiple reports. Hill is facing conspiracy charges in juvenile court.
NMSU athletic officials faced questions over the curfew violations and what discipline if any was rendered for the student-athletes involved in the fight at the Aggie-Lobo football game. NMSU Athletic Director Mario Moccia said NMSU players were disciplined following the Oct. 15 fight, but had not sat out any games prior to Saturday.
Peake violated team curfew rules and the student code of conduct for taking a gun on a team trip but has yet to be charged with a crime. Meanwhile, NMSU-UNM canceled its annual home-and-home series for this year. The teams had been scheduled to play in Albuquerque this past Saturday and then in Las Cruces on Dec. 3. The Aggies resumed their basketball season Friday at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic tournament in Nevada.