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

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A New Mexico State basketball player is in a hospital after getting shot and fatally shooting one of his assailants in an incident that unfolded early Saturday morning at the University of New Mexico.

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

Police identified Brandon Travis, 19, as the UNM student who died after being shot by the 21-year-old Peake. One of the other students involved, 19-year-old Jonathan Smith, has been charged with aggravated battery, conspiracy and two counts of tampering with evidence. New Mexico state police stated that an unidentified 17-year-old girl, also said to be among the group of UNM students, was charged with aggravated battery and conspiracy and booked into a juvenile detention center.

Peake was described by a UNM official as in stable condition. He and his Aggies teammates were staying at a hotel in Albuquerque on Friday evening ahead of a scheduled game the next day against the host Lobos. In the wake of the shooting, that game was postponed. It is unclear if it will be made up. UNM is scheduled to play at NMSU on Dec. 3, and the status of that game is also uncertain.

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In a Q&A released 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 they boarded team buses.

Per an affidavit for an arrest warrant filed Sunday with a New Mexico district court, a state police investigator summarized interviews with the parties involved that portrayed Travis, Smith and another student identified as “Eli” as hatching a plan to use the girl’s help to take “revenge” on Peake. Smith and the girl said that when Smith, Travis and “Eli” attended a UNM-NMSU football game in October at the Aggies’ stadium in Las Cruces, they were beaten up by Peake and others.

Per the affidavit, in Travis’s dorm room Friday, the three men had the 17-year-old girl, who was in contact with Peake, text him to meet her on campus. Peake arrived at approximately 3 am and was walking with the girl outside a campus housing complex when the three men approached. Surveillance video, according to the affidavit, showed one of them pointing a gun at Peake’s head while the other two stood behind the NMSU player. One of those two hit Peake on the right leg with a bat.

Smith and the girl told the investigator, according to his account, that Travis held the gun, and Smith said “Eli” swung the bat. Peake started to run away, Smith said, then pulled out a gun and shot at Travis, who fired back while Smith, “Eli” and the girl fled the scene.

Smith told the investigator, per the affidavit, that he knew Travis possessed a gun but that its use during the planned assault had not been discussed beforehand. After fleeing, Smith said he and “Eli” went back to the latter’s dorm room and changed clothes, then threw the clothes they had been wearing into a sewer.

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

In a message shared Saturday by UNM President Garnett S. Stokes, he wrote: “The impact of this experience is life-changing for so many and will extend far beyond expressions of grief and sense of 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: “Any untimely passing is a tragedy, but it’s especially heartbreaking when it involves students and happens on a university campus.”

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

Per his Aggies bio, Peake transferred to NMSU before the 2021-22 season after playing at Georgia and Austin Peay. He started NMSU’s first two games this season.

The school said Monday that the Aggies would travel to Las Vegas this weekend, as scheduled, to play in a two-day tournament.

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