UNM student dead, NMSU basketball player shot: Tragedy unfolds before rivalry basketball game
Story last revised: 12:50 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20. Here's the latest: Police identify UNM student killed in shootout with NMSU basketball player
LAS CRUCES — A University of New Mexico student is dead and a New Mexico State student athlete is recovering from gunshot wounds following an incident on the UNM campus early Saturday morning, postponing a highly anticipated basketball game between the rival schools that had been scheduled to take place later that day.
On Sunday, more than 24 hours after the shooting, there are still more questions than answers. Here's a look at what we know.
New Mexico State Police are leading the investigation into the deadly shooting on the UNM campus. Though police released a statement Saturday afternoon noting one person died in the shooting, related police records have not yet been made available.
In the statement, police said there was an altercation between a 19-year-old man and a 21-year-old man about 3 a.m. Saturday on campus. Both men sustained gunshot wounds.
The 19-year-old, later identified as a UNM student, was pronounced dead on the scene. His name has not been released.
The 21-year-old, whom the Sun-News has confirmed is Mike Peake, a forward on the NMSU basketball team, was transported to an Albuquerque hospital following the shooting.
UNM students who talked to the Sun-News on Saturday evening, said they heard the shooting about 3:15 a.m. to 3:20 a.m. near a back entrance to the Coronado Hall dorm complex on campus. Police arrived within 5 to 10 minutes, the students said.
The Albuquerque Journal reported later Saturday that the walls of the residence hall "appeared to be pockmarked with several bullet holes and at least one window appeared to be struck."
As of late Sunday morning, no one had been charged in the shooting, though police have stated an investigation is ongoing.
Mike Peake shot
Peake, a 21-year-old junior, is the basketball team's starting power forward.
A Chicago native, Peake spent most of high school playing in Kansas. The 6-foot-7, 218-pound forward played at Georgia and Austin Peay before coming to NMSU for the 2021-22 season.
Peake is one of two returning players on this year's Aggie hoops squad. In the team's first two games, he averaged 9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2 blocks in just over 20 minutes.
UNM-NMSU game postponed
The NMSU and UNM teams had been scheduled to tip off at 5 p.m. Saturday at The Pit in Albuquerque, but that game was postponed after news of the shooting.
In a series referred to as the Rio Grande Rivalry, the two basketball squads play each other twice annually, each at the other's home court.
In the first of two scheduled games this year, The Pit was expecting a near sellout Saturday.
It's not clear whether the Albuquerque game will be rescheduled. For now, the teams are the scheduled to play in Las Cruces on Dec. 3.
NMSU's next scheduled game is Friday, Nov. 25, when the Aggies travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, where they are scheduled to play San Diego in the first game of the Las Vegas Invitational. NMSU would play either California-Irvine or Nicholls State on Nov. 26.
Officials from the NMSU athletics department, including Athletics Director Mario Moccia and head basketball coach Greg Heiar, have not said anything publicly since the shooting and when reached have referred questions to the NMSU chancellor's office.
NMSU chancellor releases statement
On Sunday, New Mexico State Chancellor Dan Arvizu addressed the shooting in a statement to the university community.
"We know that one of our student athletes is now in the hospital following an altercation on the UNM campus. We also know another person has lost their life following that altercation," Arvizu wrote. "Any untimely passing is a tragedy, but it’s especially heartbreaking when it involves students and happens on a university campus. I’ve spoken with UNM President Garnett Stokes and relayed my sympathies and those of our entire NMSU community."
In his letter, Arvizu encouraged the community not to jump to conclusions.
"I’m confident all the relevant details will come out in time," he wrote. "That information will then help to inform our next steps as a university."
Arvizu also relayed that the university is cooperating with law enforcement.
NMSU bus stopped
After the game was postponed, NMSU basketball players traveled from Albuquerque back to Las Cruces by bus.
State police stopped the bus at or near the Fort Craig rest area, about mile post 114 on Interstate 25 — the halfway point between the two cities.
The bus was stopped "as part of the ongoing investigation into the homicide at UNM. That bus has since been released," State Police spokesman Ray Wilson wrote in an email about 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Journal reported state police did not detain anyone who was on the bus.
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Lucas Peerman is the news director for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can reached at email@example.com and @LittleGuyInATie on Twitter. Stephen Wagner is a sports reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can found on Twitter at @stephenwag22 and reached at SWagner@lcsun-news.com.