LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – On Wednesday, New Mexico State men’s basketball played its fifth game since the deadly Nov. 19 shooting in Albuquerque that left NMSU forward Mike Peake injured and UNM student Brandon Travis dead.
The Aggies played on the road in California at Santa Clara, losing 66-65. Before the game, for the first time, NMSU publicly disciplined Issa Muhammad, Marchelus Avery and Anthony Roy, who all served a one game suspension during the game. Muhammad and Avery were on the bench in street clothes; Roy is still back in Las Cruces for what the school termed “personal reasons” and did not make the trip. No coaches were suspended for the game.
This comes as a result of the ongoing police investigation, as Avery, Muhammad and Toy are seen on surveillance footage getting out of a yellow Camaro that Peake allegedly put the gun he used and his tablet in. Peake was suspended indefinitely by the school on Monday, 16 days after the shooting.
KTSM received over seven hours of surveillance, body cam and interview footage, in Mike Peake is seen arriving on the sidewalk, with the 17-year-old girl who police allege conspired with three men to jump Peake as retribution for a fight in Las Cruces in October. Then, the three men run up from behind and video shows the moment that Peake is attacked and attempts to run away. Police say Brandon Travis shoots at Peake and Peake shot back.
Travis was killed as a result and Peake was shot in the leg. The video then shows him walking in the cross walk, limping after being shot. Then, a yellow Camaro arrives; that’s where his three teammates Issa Muhammad, Anthony Roy and Marcelous Avery get out.
Police say Peake put the gun and his tablet into the vehicle. Peake has been released from the hospital and was suspended indefinitely from the NMSU basketball team Monday. He is still enrolled at the school.
However, their involvement in the incident is in contrast to a question and answer document the school sent to the media on Nov. 21, two Days after the shooting.
In response to the question, “Were any other student athletes out of the hotel that evening?” the school said, “Yes. We have become aware of other student athletes who have violated NMSU team curfew rules. Those student athletes were not part of this incident.”
According to police body camera footage of an interview conducted with New Mexico State associate head coach Dominique Taylor just hours after the incident, police alerted NMSU to the involvement of Avery, Muhammad and Roy in aiding Peake after the shooting, as shown on surveillance footage.
“”They know what happened because they met with Mike. These kids talk,” officer David Esquibel can be heard telling Taylor. “It’s not like Mike’s not going to tell them anything. I know they know what happened and they know who was driving the Camaro because they were in the vehicle. And we know now there was a gun floating around. Whether they have it or not, I don’t know, or if it was still in the Camaro. I know Coach (Greg) Heiar is checking with your AD as far as me speaking with those players because he doesn’t know if they need a lawyer. He’s trying to protect those guys which is fine.”
As of right now, it is still unknown who was driving the Camaro, or if police have ever interviewed those three players, who did choose to exercise their rights to an attorney.
KTSM reached out to New Mexico State University regarding their initial comments about the involvement of other athletes that night and was provided with the following statement:
“That statement should have been more clearly written and then should have either been taken down or re-written as additional information was learned. The ‘was not part of this incident, was intended to reference Mike Peake sneaking out of his room to meet a girl and then encountering those three men with a bat and gun. The other athletes were not part of that incident. Now, as it has been widely reported, those athletes appear to have shown up later and interacted with Mike.
We’ve debated internally whether or not to take down that page as information becomes old, but we were also trying to avoid someone saying why is it no longer available.”
New Mexico State chancellor Dan Arvizu said in a statement on Tuesday that some of the information that has been reported by the media about the three players, NMSU itself had not yet received as of Tuesday. Additionally, KTSM learned on Wednesday that the Bernalillo County District Attorney is working with New Mexico State Police to investigate NMSU staff and players following the shooting on the UNM campus.
According to the police report, the three players told head coach Greg Heiar the gun was located in a room on the second floor of the hotel; Heiar then called Taylor and directed him to retrieve it and hand it over to police. On body camera footage, the detective can be seen asking Taylor if he has the gun over the phone; Taylor says yes. Taylor can later be seen on bodycam footage turning the gun over.
“Coach Taylor explained that Issa, Marchelus, 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. I had Coach Taylor show me which room he got the firearm from,” the report states.
Police then learned that the bus was on its way back to Las Cruces and they hopped on I-25 to try to catch up with it. New Mexico State University Police and NMSU Assistant Athletic Director Braun Cartwright were also in contact with police at that time. NMSU police said the gun was back at the hotel in Albuquerque; Cartwright said he’d told the bus to stop at a rest stop on I-25.
Coaches can be seen on video giving Peake’s tablet to police when the bus was stopped. His phone was found later that night with an NMSU administrator in Las Cruces.
KTSM is in the process of reviewing all of the many hours of footage from the incident and will have more reports in the coming days and weeks.