NMSU regents chair speaks out on fatal shooting. Here's what she said.

Justin Garcia
Las Cruces Sun-News
Board of Regents Chair Ammu Devasthali reads a statement about the recent shooting during the NMSU regents meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at New Mexico State University.

LAS CRUCES – Guns have no place on New Mexico State University's campus, and the state school stands alongside its Albuquerque athletics rival.

That was the heart of a statement delivered by NMSU Board of Regents Chair Ammu Devasthali during a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday.

It was the first such statement from any of the five regents since NMSU basketball player Mike Peake shot and killed University of New Mexico student Brandon Travis on Nov. 19 while the team was in town to play UNM. Peake has since been suspended from the team for violating the team's curfew and university policy by bringing a gun on the school-sponsored bus.

Police believe Travis and a band of other UNM students lured Peake to campus under the pretense of a date with a 17-year-old girl. When Peake was walking outside a campus dorm at about 3 a.m., surveillance video showed Travis and the others ambushing Peake.

Shortly after, shooting breaks out. Video of the incident shows Travis shooting and Peake and Peake firing several times at Travis while fleeing the area. Travis, 19, died outside the campus dorms. Peake was shot in the leg and hospitalized. As of the publication of this article, Peake has not been charged with any crimes.

"The loss of this young person's life is a tragedy no matter the circumstances," Devasthali said.

The regent's statement also comes as NMSU hires Albuquerque-based Rodey Law Firm to investigate the shooting and what led to it.

In recent weeks, leaks and public records requests have led to the release of dozens of police reports and video collected by state police during the investigation.

One of the videos shows three of Peake's teammates arriving in a vehicle after the shootout to collect Peake's gun and tablet before police are on scene. Police have since collected the evidence. Those three players were suspended for one game.

Devasthali's statement did not address any of this. Instead, the chair of NMSU's governing body sought to re-enshrine NMSU's relationship with UNM while condemning the use of firearms on campus.

"At NMSU, we strive to create an environment on our campus where our students, faculty, staff, and community feel welcome and safe," Devasthali said. "That is why we have zero tolerance for the kind of behavior that led to this tragedy. Guns are not permitted on our campuses and are not permitted on university trips."

Devasthali also seemed to address events, including the student section brawl during the Oct. 15 NMSU-UNM football game in Las Cruces, that police believe led to the deadly shooting a month later.

"Abusive and insulting language has no place here on our campus. Each of us serves as a role model by promoting good, responsible behavior," she said. "We know the overwhelming majority of our students and those in our university community follow the rules. But when even one person violates those rules, it can cast a shadow over the entire university."

None of the other regents commented on the shooting or subsequent investigation during the meeting.

Keep reading:

Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached by email at JEGarcia@lcsun-news.com or on Twitter at @Just516garc.