NMSU coach shared fears of retaliation after fatal shooting

New Mexico state coach Greg Heiar said he feared possible retaliation after a fatal shooting involving one of his players, according to body camera footage from the New Mexico state police released on ESPN on Friday.

Heiar spoke with New Mexico State Police Officer David Esquibel hours after Aggies junior forward Mike Peake shot and killed Brandon Travis, a University of New Mexico student, on November 19 in a dorm room on the UNM campus, which the state police have described as an end in itself. defense incident. Heiar told Esquibel he was concerned for the safety of his family and players, but promised the officer, “If I hear anything, I’ll call right away.”

The game scheduled for that day between New Mexico State and New Mexico was canceled after the shooting, as was a Dec. 3 matchup at the Aggies’ campus.

Peake was also shot in the incident. State police said he was framed by a 17-year-old girl and her friends who had an argument with Peake at an interschool football game.

Heiar did not return state police calls after the interview. He loaded his team onto a bus after the game was canceled as state police were pursuing possible evidence and interviews with three New Mexico state players who, according to a state police investigative report, were seen following the Peake shooting.

“I mean, [Peake] He’s definitely going to have a long way to go,” Heiar told Esquibel. “Maybe he’ll never play another second of basketball for me. That’s just the reality, so I have to protect the rest of my team and the rest of my people while you guys do the investigation.”

Heiar added, “I worry that my wife and daughter are just at the game. A student shot… people say a basketball player from the state of New Mexico shot a student. That won’t go down well in front of 15,000 people. This is about everyone’s safety. I am here.”

Esquibel confirmed Heiar’s concerns.

“Our biggest concern right now is everyone else’s safety,” Esquibel said. “We don’t want anything to escalate. We don’t want retaliation. We don’t want anyone [else] be shot or killed.”

Esquibel told Heiar that three of its players — Marchelus Avery, Issa Muhammad and Anthony Roy — were seen on video picking up Peake in a yellow Camaro after the shooting. Peake placed several items in the trunk of the vehicle, according to state police.

Heiar told Esquibel that each member of his team took the bus to Albuquerque. He said he could not identify the woman driving the car when Esquibel showed him her name.

After being unable to reach Heiar, state police stopped the Aggies’ bus at a rest area. Inside, Lorenzo Jenkins, who serves as Heiar’s special assistant, had Peake’s tablet in a backpack. An unnamed New Mexico state administrator had his phone, state police said. The gun used in the shooting was at the team’s hotel in Albuquerque, where assistant coach Dominique Taylor had it wrapped in a towel after Heiar called him and told him that Avery, Muhammad, and Roy could tell him where to find the gun could.

How and where the items were transported after the shooting is unclear.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that it is working with state police to investigate the “conduct” of New Mexico State coaches, staff and players.

Avery, Muhammad and Roy were suspended for the New Mexico State game in Santa Clara on Wednesday. Peake has been suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of separate university and state police investigations.

No player or coach has been charged in connection with the fatal shooting. A New Mexico state spokesman said the school was not disciplining any coaches “at this time.”

In a separate interview with Esquibel, Taylor said Peake’s father was murdered when he was young and he didn’t have many family members to consult. Taylor said speaking to Peake’s guardians “was a tough phone call.” Heiar had asked Esquibel what he needed to do to help Peake get legal counsel.

Before gathering his team and leaving town, Heiar said he was perplexed by the whole situation.

“I’m just shaking. I just have a bad stomach,” Heiar told the officer.

https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/35225241/nmsu-coach-shared-fears-retaliation-fatal-shooting NMSU coach shared fears of retaliation after fatal shooting

Emma Bowman

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