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Police: NMSU Basketball Team Left Town amid Request for Interviews on Fatal Shooting

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2022

KALAMAZOO, MI - NOVEMBER 10: A general view of the Adidas PRO basketball rack before the college basketball game between the Goshen Maple Leafs and Western Michigan Broncos on November 10, 2022, at University Arena in Kalamazoo, MI. (Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New Mexico State men's basketball team left the University of New Mexico campus after Albuquerque police requested to interview three members of the roster in connection to the shooting involving Aggies basketball player Mike Peake, according to police.

ESPN's Myron Medcalf reported Friday that investigators wanted to question Marchelus Avery, Issa Muhammad and Anthony Roy and told head coach Greg Heiar of their plans. Police said Heiar initially responded he "had to make sure the athletes didn't need an attorney and told police he would respond to their request soon," per Medcalf.

Instead, the NMSU players allegedly boarded the team bus, which began its journey back to Las Cruces. Police eventually caught up with the bus and began a search. Medcalf detailed the police's version of what happened next:

"Inside, police said, they located Peake's tablet, which was in a backpack held by Lorenzo Jenkins, who serves as a special assistant to Heiar. According to the investigation report, Peake's phone was located later in Las Cruces. Braun Cartwright, NMSU's deputy athletic director, had called the officer and told him that an unnamed administrator had the phone."

Officers also said they recovered Peake's gun at the team hotel from assistant coach Dominique Taylor, who was reportedly informed by Avery, Muhammad and Roy where he could find the gun.

Per Jamel Valencia of KFOX14 in El Paso, Texas, surveillance footage showed three people approaching Peake on Nov. 19. New Mexico State was in Albuquerque for a game against New Mexico that had been canceled.

Investigators with NMSU said the people attempted to "lure" Peake onto campus as revenge in connection to a fight at a football game between NMSU and New Mexico. After being physically confronted and attacked, Peake ran and shot New Mexico student Brandon Travis. Travis died at the scene, while Peake was hospitalized with a gunshot wound.

Medcalf reported Avery, Muhammad and Roy were seated inside a yellow Camaro in the parking lot where the shooting occurred. T.J. Wilham of KOAT in Albuquerque reported Peake was shown placing items into the Camaro's trunk.

It's unclear what happened with the tablet, cellphone and gun before they were retrieved by authorities.

No criminal charges have been brought against any members of the New Mexico State men's basketball program.

The school suspended Peake indefinitely pending results of the ongoing investigation.