NMSU basketball officials respond to report players, assistant coach had Peake's gun following shootout

Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
Aggie players, including Marchelus Avery (1) and Issa Mohammed, right, huddle together during a NMSU basketball game on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, at the Pan American Center. A New Mexico State Police report, cited by KOAT, alleges Avery, Mohammed and Anthony Roy, another player on the Aggies, arrived at the scene of a deadly shootout Nov. 19 on the University of New Mexico campus, before police arrived, to help teammate Mike Peake.

LAS CRUCES - New Mexico State officials had little to say following a report from KOAT, a TV station in Albuquerque, alleging members of the basketball team may have taken evidence away from the scene of the deadly shootout involving player Mike Peake last month on the University of New Mexico campus.

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 places 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 KOAT report raises questions about how Head Coach Greg Heiar and others are cooperating with the law enforcement investigation.

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.

Peake and the Aggies were in Albuquerque to play the Lobos in a game to tip off at 5 p.m. Nov. 19. That game, as well as the NMSU-UNM game in Las Cruces, were canceled after the shooting.

According to the report cited by KOAT, Peake is seen on video after the shooting meeting teammates Issa Muhammed, 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.

New Mexico State administration has stated that multiple basketball players broke curfew on Nov. 19 but that they were not involved in the shooting on the UNM campus.

State Police, which is handling the investigation into the shooting, wanted to question Heiar regarding the whereabouts of Peake's gun and other items, according to KOAT. Police also questioned assistant coach Dominique Taylor with a state police agent reportedly telling Taylor, “I emphasized to Coach Taylor how important it was to recover the gun and other items that were placed in the trunk. I asked him to let me know if he finds out any information about the Camaro, the gun or other items and he said he would.”

After the Nov. 19 UNM-NMSU game was postponed, a bus took NMSU players back to Las Cruces. The university has stated the bus stopped at the Fort Craig rest stop, about halfway between Las Cruces and Albuquerque, in coordination with the state police investigation.

The report cited by KOAT stated that assistant coach Lorenzo Jenkins turned over Peake's tablet during the stop. Jenkins didn't know the whereabouts of Peake's phone, according to the report.

Heiar did not not allow players to speak to police and he had told associate AD Braun Cartwright that the players wanted an attorney, according to the report cited by KOAT.

Taylor was not on the bus, according to the report cited by KOAT. Detectives later reached Taylor at the Doubletree Hotel in Albuquerque and he turned over a gun wrapped in a towel, according to the report.

State Police had confirmed to the Sun-News that the two guns involved in the shooting had been recovered.

In a statement to the Sun-News, an NMSU spokesperson said, "We know that university personnel have been in communication with law enforcement since this shooting took place. Questions regarding specific details of the investigation should be referred to New Mexico State Police."

All three players named in the report played on Monday during New Mexico State's 77-35 victory over Simon Fraser at the Pan American Center. Heiar, Taylor and Jenkins were on the bench.

The team and coaching staff plans to travel Tuesday as the team leaves for a three-game road trip, a university spokesperson told the Sun-News.

KOAT's report which broke midway through Monday's game.

Prior to postgame media availability, Moccia met with the team.

Guard Kyle Feit, talking to media after the game, avoided questions related to KOAT's report.

"Its been a whirlwind but we are trying to stay focused," Feit said. "Our mindset is one day, one play. We have to let the outside noise be the outside noise and internally win every day, be productive and inspire each other on and off court and be positive."

When asked how Peake's suspension could impact the team, Feit said, "He's one of our brothers we love him have to keep moving forward."

Moccia, reached Monday after the game, said he would not comment on an ongoing investigation.

Aggies head coach Greg Heiar watches his players during a NMSU basketball game on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, at the Pan American Center.

Heiar talked to press following the game, but cited the investigation in refusing to answer questions related to the report cited by KOAT.

When asked if the entire roster and coaching staff would travel on Tuesday, Heiar said, "We leave tomorrow morning."

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Jason Groves can be reached at jgroves@lcsun-news.com or @JPGroves on Twitter.