New Mexico State basketball player ‘lured’ before fatal shooting by New Mexico students

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A New Mexico state basketball player is in a hospital after he was shot and fatally shot at one of his attackers in an incident that occurred early Saturday morning at the University of New Mexico.

State police said NMSU Aggies forward Mike Peake arrived at UNM’s Albuquerque campus early Saturday morning after students there conspired to trick him into an assault.

Police identified Brandon Travis, 19, as the UNM student who died after being shot by 21-year-old Peake. One of the other students involved, 19-year-old Jonathan Smith, was charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and two counts of tampering with evidence. New Mexico State Police said an unidentified 17-year-old girl, believed to be among the UNM students, was charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy and taken to a juvenile detention center.

Peake was described by a UNM official as being in stable condition. He and his Aggies teammates stayed at an Albuquerque hotel Friday night ahead of a scheduled game the next day against host Lobos. After the shooting, this game was postponed. It is unclear whether it will be made up for. UNM is scheduled to play at NMSU on December 3 and the status of that game is also uncertain.

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In a question and answer published Monday by NMSU, the university said its athletes are not allowed to bring guns on team trips and that going forward their bags would be checked before boarding team buses.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed Sunday in a New Mexico district court, a state police investigator summarized interviews with the parties involved in which Travis, Smith and another student identified as “Eli” hatched a plan to enlist the help of the girl “Revenge” on Peake. Smith and the girl said that when Smith, Travis and Eli attended a UNM-NMSU soccer game at Aggies Stadium in Las Cruces in October, they were beaten up by Peake and others.

According to the affidavit, on Friday in Travis’ dorm room, the three men had texted the 17-year-old girl who had been in contact with Peake to meet her on campus. Peake arrived around 3 a.m. and was walking the girl outside of a campus gated community when the three men approached. Surveillance video showed one of them pointing a gun at Peake’s head while the other two stood behind the NMSU player, the affidavit said. One of the two hit Peake in the right leg with a club.

Smith and the girl, according to his report, told the investigator that Travis held the gun, and Smith said that Eli brandished the bat. Peake started running away, Smith said, then pulled a gun and shot Travis, who fired back while Smith, Eli, and the girl fled the scene.

Smith told the investigator, according to the affidavit, that he knew Travis possessed a gun but that its use during the planned attack had not been discussed beforehand. After the escape, Smith said he and Eli returned to his dormitory, changed clothes, and then threw the clothes they were wearing down a sewer.

State police said Sunday they are working with the district attorney to determine possible additional charges in the case.

In a message shared by UNM President Garnett S. Stokes on Saturday, he wrote: “The impact of this experience is life-changing for so many and will go far beyond expressions of grief and loss – and far beyond the Lobo community. I cannot express how deeply saddened I am by this tragedy on so many levels.”

NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said in a Letter shared Sunday: “All untimely death is a tragedy, but it’s especially heartbreaking when it involves students and happens on a college campus.”

Both officials noted that mental health resources are available for their respective university communities.

According to his bio of Aggies, Peake joined NMSU ahead of the 2021-22 season, having previously played at Georgia and Austin Peay. He started NMSU’s first two games this season.

The school said Monday the Aggies would travel to Las Vegas this weekend as planned to compete in a two-day tournament.

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