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Fatal shooting postpones Rio Grande Rivalry men’s basketball game

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A fatal shooting involving a New Mexico State University men’s basketball player took place at the University of New Mexico campus Saturday, Nov. 19. The incident occurred just hours before the Rio Grande rivalry game between NMSU and UNM was scheduled to take place at The Pit. 

UNM student, Brandon Travis, 19, was pronounced dead on the scene. NMSU basketball player, Mike Peake, 21, was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg.

21-year-old NMSU basketball player Mike Peake. (Photo courtesy of NMSU athletics)

New Mexico State Police arrested UNM freshman Jonathan Smith early Sunday morning in connection to the shooting. Smith was charged with aggravated battery, conspiracy to commit a felony and two counts of tampering with evidence. He is being held on a $10,000 bond.

A 17-year-old female was also arrested and charged as a juvenile with aggravated battery and conspiracy. An affidavit indicates the 17-year-old told investigators that she was part of a “setup” with Travis, Smith and another male identified as Eli. The four planned the Saturday attack on Peake in retaliation for Peake’s involvement in a fight that broke out at the NMSU versus UNM football game at Aggie Memorial Stadium last month.  

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Travis wanted to jump Peake because, “Peake and his friends had beat him up badly at the UNM versus NMSU homecoming (football) game in Las Cruces, New Mexico.”

UNM freshman Jonathan Smith, 19. (Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Detention Center)

The 17-year-old female allegedly lured Peake to her dorm where he was approached by the three males who beat him with a bat and fired the first shots.

Police determined from witness interviews and security camera footage that as Peake was running away, Travis fired his gun at Peake; Peake then took his own firearm from his pocket and fired back at Travis. According to Smith, after the shooting, the remaining men broke into the Coronado Hall dormitory where they changed clothes and returned to the crime scene.

“They blended in with the crowd, gathered at the scene and watched as police attempted to render aid to Travis, who was already dead,” KTSM reports. Peake was transported to UNM Hospital. 

Both universities agreed to postpone the rivalry game and the Aggies returned to Las Cruces on Saturday, Nov. 19.

According to an email announcement from NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu, some NMSU athletics personnel stayed behind in Albuquerque to be with Peake.

“NMSU personnel have been in contact with investigators and have been cooperating with law enforcement throughout,” Arvizu wrote.

NMSU students in need of additional support, including counseling services, in response to the incident are encouraged to contact the Aggie Health and Wellness Center at 575-646-6428.

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