ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There are new questions surrounding campus security following the deadly shooting on the University of New Mexico’s campus over the weekend. “Our entire community is devastated by this occurrence,” said Cinnamon Blair, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for UNM. “This isn’t a common occurrence.”
Police say the shooting stemmed from the UNM-NMSU football game back in October. According to police, UNM students Brandon Travis, Jonathan Smith, and a third friend wanted revenge on New Mexico State University basketball player Michael Peake after getting into a fight with him at that game.
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Police say the three men used a female friend to lure Peake to campus with plans to jump him. Court documents show Travis shot Peake, who shot back and fatally hit Travis. KRQE asked if the university had increased patrolling in the days following the shooting or in the area of Coronado Hall, near the crime scene.
“Since it was an isolated incident and there hasn’t been additional threat to that area, having additional patrols in one particular area that’s not, you know, that isn’t a threat wouldn’t be an efficient use. So, we have patrols all over campus,” said Blair.
Blair said the university has a fully staffed police department that patrols the entire campus. She also noted the university’s investment in campus security in recent years, like expanding its service to escort students to and from where they are going if they don’t feel safe. She also said the University’s investment in security technology, like surveillance, played a pivotal role in this case.
“That really allowed us in this instance to determine what happened very quickly, know what the next actions needed to be and that there was no additional threat to the campus,” said Blair.
Guns are banned from campus through both university policy and state law. “Being an open campus in an urban environment, that is a challenge we have faced for quite some time,” said Blair.
UNM police told KRQE they can’t pat down everyone who walks onto campus and needs to see or know about someone walking onto campus with a gun to take action.
There are questions if Travis had the gun in his dorm room. UNM said housing does visual wellness and safety checks once a month, where they look in the room to check for safety but do not touch or move anything. UNM said police could only search a room for a firearm after a credible tip. The university is encouraging people to follow, ‘see something, say something.’
“If they think something is a miss or suspicious in any way, we really want to lean into the community as well to be a partner with us,” said Blair. People can report tips to campus police or through the Guardian app. Blair also encourages any parents with concerns to reach out to UNM housing and any students who need support to get counseling.
“In the wake of a tragedy like this words aren’t enough. We really have to come together as a community, as Lobos, and in New Mexico. The loss of any young life is tragic,” said Blair.
NMSU has plans to address the shooting Wednesday afternoon. Smith, who was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and tampering with evidence, is scheduled for his pre-trial detention hearing on Wednesday morning.