Published: 12:50 pm, Tue. Nov. 22nd, 2022Updated: 5:56 pm
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Court records show a plot to enact revenge for a fight during a football game last month resulted in a shootout between students from rival universities in New Mexico that left one person dead and a basketball player injured.
A pair of University of New Mexico students face charges of aggravated battery and conspiracy in connection with the plan to lure the New Mexico State University player to campus while he was in town for a game. A criminal complaint filed by state police details what led up to the early Saturday shooting on the Albuquerque campus.
The shooting happened hours before the scheduled tipoff of a basketball game between the rival schools, which was later postponed. University of New Mexico Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez said Tuesday that the game will not be rescheduled and that the matchup scheduled for Dec. 3 in Las Cruces has been cancelled.
“As much as we love to see our men’s basketball teams compete — the Lobos and Aggies — we felt at this time there needed to be a pause,” he said during a news conference. “The event recently occurred. There’s still a lot of anxiety and concerns in the community, and we want to make sure those take precedence.”
UNM student Brandon Travis, 19, was shot to death near a dorm around 3 a.m. on Saturday. The NMSU player, 21-year-old Mike Peake, was shot in the leg during the altercation.
According to court documents, Travis and three fellow students plotted to get back at Peake for his role in a brawl that broke out in the stands during a football game between the two schools in Las Cruces in October. A video of that fight that has circulated on social media showed a number of people throwing punches.
The criminal complaint states that Peake left the team’s hotel room early Saturday to meet with one of the students, a 17-year-old girl with whom he had been texting. A friend of Travis, the teen girl is facing charges in juvenile court.
Peake told an investigator he was talking with the girl outside a dorm when three people walked up behind them, including Travis, who pointed a gun to his face. Peake said one man then struck him with a bat.
According to the complaint, Peake said he pushed Travis and that Travis shot at him as he ran away. Peake told investigators that he pulled a gun out of his pocket and fired.
Peake has not been charged with a crime.
Jonathan Smith, 19, one of the students with Travis, told investigators that Peake fired at Travis as he was running away and that Travis fired back. Smith is facing charges of aggravated battery, conspiracy and tampering with evidence for throwing away his cell phone and clothing.
Eric Hannum, Smith’s attorney, described his client as a young man with no criminal history who comes from a good family. He said Smith was devastated about the death of his friend and the shooting of Peake. The sophomore was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
The shooting came six days after a former University of Virginia football player allegedly killed three Cavaliers football players and wounded two other students on the Charlottesville campus before being arrested.
The rivalry between New Mexico State and the University of New Mexico is heated and has seen consistent conflict throughout the years.
University officials said that cancelling the game in Albuquerque will likely cost UNM’s athletic department nearly $500,000.
As for restoring the rivalry, Nuñez said it will take work as well as an understanding of what happened last weekend.
“Some of these (issues) are lot more passionate and heated and we’ve gotten to the point where we really need to take a look and make sure we have everything we need,” he said, referring to law enforcement resources. “But this is a bigger question. This is us sitting down together at the table — NMSU and UNM — and making sure it’s going to be the same response at their venue as it is at ours.”
Associated Press writer Susan Montoya Bryan and freelancer Glen Rosales in Albuquerque contributed to this report.