Videos of deadly shooting on UNM campus released; NMSU basketball players suspended
LAS CRUCES ‒ New Mexico State has hired an independent, external investigator to look into a deadly shooting involving player Mike Peake and allegations that a gun involved was taken away from the scene by teammates.
The move came on Tuesday, the same day New Mexico State police released a trove of supplemental reports and videos related to the Nov. 19 shooting on the University of New Mexico campus.
One of the reports stated police believe Peake's teammates Issa Muhammad, Marchelus "Chi Chi" Avery and Anthony Roy took evidence away from the scene before officers arrived.
On Wednesday, the university announced Muhammad, Avery and Roy have each been suspended for one game.
NMSU has hired an external investigator to look into the shooting. New Mexico State did not name the external investigator but said that information will be released when there is a contract in place.
"We will be incredibly transparent during this process,” NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said in a statement. “We owe that to our community and to everyone associated with our university. The firm selected will be encouraged to review any public documents regarding this case and be fully empowered to speak with any NMSU employees, students or other individuals necessary to ensure we fully understand the facts.
"If there is anything we should have done differently, this report will let us know. In the last day, we have received a number of new questions regarding this case. Unfortunately, some of what’s been reported in the media is information NMSU has not been provided,” Arvizu said. “To be fair to all involved, it’s important to have a more detailed understanding of what has occurred.”
New Mexico State Police, the agency leading the investigation in the shootout that killed UNM student Brandon Travis, 19, released footage from several surveillance videos on the UNM campus on Tuesday to some media outlets, including KOB, a TV station in Albuquerque.
One of the videos shows Peake and Travis shooting at one another outside UNM's Coronado Hall, a dormitory.
Witnesses have told police that Peake and Travis were on opposite sides of a brawl Oct. 15 in Aggie Memorial Stadium during the UNM-NMSU football game.
Peake, a junior forward on the NMSU basketball team traveled to Albuquerque Nov. 18 before a scheduled Nov. 19 game vs. UNM. In the early morning hours of Nov. 19, Peake took a Lyft from near the DoubleTree Hotel where the team was staying in downtown Albuquerque to the UNM campus to meet Mya Hill, a 17-year-old girl.
Police believe Hill is friends with the UNM students involved in the Oct. 15 brawl and conspired to "lure" Peake to campus so the students could jump him.
Surveillance video from the parking lot of Coronado Hall shows Peake and Hill walking together when three men creep up behind them. Video from another angle shows one of the men hitting Peake in the legs with a baseball bat.
Peake goes to his knees after being hit by the bat, but then gets up and tries to run. Travis follows him and begins to shoot. Peake pulls out his own gun and fires back, hitting Travis four times. One of the bullets hits Travis in the chest and kills him, an autopsy stated. Peake was hit in the leg during the shootout.
Jonathan Smith and Eli'sha Upshaw are mentioned in police reports as the other UNM students present during the shooting. Smith told police that Upshaw was the one who used the bat to hit Peake.
Smith and Hill have been arrested and charged with felonies related to the shooting. Upshaw had not been charged as of Wednesday afternoon.
Police release new surveillance video showing deadly UNM shootout
Another surveillance video shows Peake hopping on one leg away from the crime scene. A few moments later, a Camaro pulls up and three men get out. Police stated that Muhammed, Avery and Roy are the men who arrived in the Camaro.
Police believe the men help Peake put his gun and his tablet in the Camaro's trunk and then drive off before police arrive.
State police recover evidence
NMSP investigator David Esquibel, who was assigned to interview the NMSU basketball coaches the morning of Nov. 19, conducted interviews at the DoubleTree Hotel.
Esquibel writes in his report that he asked Head Coach Greg Heiar if he could speak to Muhammed, Avery and Roy, the three whom police believed may have evidence. Heiar responded that he'd need to check with the school's athletics director about whether the players needed attorneys, according to the report.
Heiar, who is in his first year at NMSU, advised Esquibel to talk to assistant coach Dominique Taylor, who knew Peake well as the two were also on last year's squad.
Esquibel said he explained to Taylor what police believed happened following the shooting.
"I advised Coach Taylor it is unsure if Michael's gun was still in the Camaro or if the three other players had it inside the hotel with them. I emphasized to Coach Taylor how important it was to recover the gun and other items that were placed in the trunk," Esquibel writes. Esquibel said he would later learn from Taylor that Peake's tablet was also placed in the Camaro.
Taylor responded to Esquibel that Heiar was trying to determine if the players needed legal representation before speaking to officers.
Over the next two hours, Esquibel said he tried to contact Heiar multiple times, but his calls went to voicemail.
At 12:27 p.m., Esquibel said he received a phone call from Braun Cartwright, an assistant athletics director with New Mexico State, who said he could help answer questions. In follow-up calls with Cartwright, Esquibel said he learned a bus carrying the NMSU team was traveling back to Las Cruces — since the game scheduled for that afternoon had been postponed.
"I begin driving south on Interstate 25 with my lights and sirens activated attempting to locate the bus with the NMSU Basketball team on it," Esquibel writes.
State police coordinated with the team to have the bus stop at the Fort Craig rest area, which is about halfway between Las Cruces and Albuquerque. While there, Esquibel said he recovered Peake's tablet from assistant coach Lorenzo Jenkins. Also, Esquibel learned Taylor had Peake's gun back at the DoubleTree Hotel. Esquibel returned to Albuquerque to retrieve the gun.
"I then asked Coach Taylor how he came about getting the firearm. Coach Taylor said explained that Issa, Marcelus, and Anthony told Coach Heiar where the firearm was at. Coach Heiar then called Coach Taylor and told him where the firearm was at and to go get it," Esquibel writes.
Update on players
On Monday, New Mexico State Athletics Director Mario Moccia announced Peake, 21, had been suspended from the team. Peake brought a gun with him on the school bus to Albuquerque, a violation of university rules; left his hotel room after curfew, a violation of team rules; and had a firearm on a university campus, a possible misdemeanor in New Mexico. Peake has not been charged with any crime.
Muhammad, Avery and Roy played in the team's four games since the shooting but were suspended for a game Wednesday at Santa Clara. Their involvement did not become public until KOAT, citing the police supplement report, published a story Monday while the team played Simon Fraser at home.
Following the Simon Fraser game, Moccia said the entire team and coaching staff would travel on Tuesday as the Aggies have a three-game road trip over the next week. However, on Tuesday, NMSU revealed that Roy did not travel due to "personal reasons." Muhammad and Avery will travel but will be in street clothes for the team's first game of the road trip.
Neither Muhammad, Avery nor Roy have been charged related to the allegations in the police supplemental report.
A spokesperson from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney's Office, which is in Bernalillo County, told the Albuquerque Journal that DA's office "is actively working with the New Mexico State Police to investigate the conduct of the New Mexico State University staff and players.”
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Video released by police shows three men arriving
The report from New Mexico State Police, obtained by KOAT, stated police have video showing three of Peake's teammates arriving at the scene before police and that Peake placed a gun and other items in the trunk of a Chevy Camaro before the teammates drive off. Police recovered the gun from an NMSU assistant coach at an Albuquerque hotel later in the day, the report stated.
The Las Cruces Sun-New has not yet obtained the police documents cited in KOAT's report, which stated that Peake is seen on video after the shooting, meeting teammates Issa Muhammad, Marchelus Avery and Anthony Roy, who arrive in a Camaro. Peake places items in the trunk of the vehicle, which speeds away before police get to the scene.
NMSU athletics director Mario Moccia said Monday that the entire team and coaching staff would travel on Tuesday as the Aggies have a three-game road trip over the next week. However, on Tuesday, NMSU revealed that Roy did not travel on Tuesday due to "personal reasons."
Police have stated UNM student Brandon Travis and three others lured Peake to the UNM campus about 3 a.m. Nov. 19. Following an altercation, Travis shot at Peake. Peake shot back, killing Travis, 19. Police have said Peake was shot in the leg.
On Monday, New Mexico State Athletics Director Mario Moccia announced Peake, 21, had been suspended from the team. Peake brought a gun with him on the school bus to Albuquerque, a violation of university rules; left his hotel room after curfew, a violation of team rules; and had a firearm on a university campus, a possible misdemeanor in New Mexico.