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Student accused of shooting at New Mexico campus released

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) — A University of New Mexico student was released from prison Wednesday after being charged with conspiring with friends to confront a basketball player from a rival university, resulting in the shooting death of a UNM student and the player’s injury. .

A state district judge has denied a request by prosecutors to hold 19-year-old Jonathan Smith in custody pending trial on charges of aggravated assault, conspiracy and tampering with evidence. Smith’s attorney said his client had no criminal record and came from a good home.

Authorities say the revenge plan against New Mexico State University basketball player Mike Peake followed a fight at a college football game earlier this fall. The shooting happened just hours before the scheduled start of a basketball game between the two schools, and authorities say Peake was allegedly lured to the UNM campus in Albuquerque early Saturday.

Police have identified Brandon Travis as the University of New Mexico student who was fatally shot and accused of planning the assault on Peake, the starting point guard for the New Mexico basketball team. Aggies.

Court documents say a 17-year-old UNM student conspired with Smith, Travis and another young man to bring Peake to campus. Once there, the men confronted Peake and Travis shot him in the leg. Peake retaliated, killing Travis. The teenager faces conspiracy charges in juvenile court.

University officials confirmed Wednesday that Peake, who is expected to recover, is still a member of the team. Although Peake violated curfew rules and the student code of conduct for carrying a firearm on the team trip, he was not charged with a crime.

New Mexico State University officials said at a press conference Wednesday that the student-athletes involved in that previous fight had been disciplined and that officials from both schools had discussed how to ensure the safety of students and other fans during rivalry matches.

“We take these events very seriously and are looking at everything we can and should be able to do to avoid these kinds of things in the future,” NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said.

Arvizu was joined by athletic director Mario Moccia and student dean Ann Goodman. They all spoke of the high expectations for student-athletes and the values ​​held by NMSU coaches.

Goodman said the rivalry in New Mexico is not unlike many others across the country when it comes to college athletics, and the fights that break out at those games aren’t always driven by rivalry. itself, but rather by something else.

What sparked the fight in October is part of the ongoing investigation. Still, officials said they have discussed with the University of New Mexico ways to “turn the temperature down” to avoid hostility in future games between the two schools.

According to data collected by UNM and NMSU authorities, it is rare for weapons to be found on campus.

At New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, officials said there were no arrests involving weapons in 2021, just one in 2020 and three in 2019. There have been 10 cases of weapons found in student housing at UNM in Albuquerque over the past four years, with only two in 2019 leading to an arrest, citation or summons.

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