ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – State leaders have vowed to fight to keep guns off school campuses but after one of the biggest, high-profile cases involving guns on the University of New Mexico campus, Mike Peake will not be punished.
On November 19, security cameras clearly shows New Mexico State University basketball player Mike Peake with a gun, shooting back at UNM student Brandon Travis. Travis was killed and Peake was wounded. Peake even had talks with police in the hospital about what they planned to do with his gun which a coach had turned over to them.
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Guns are banned on school grounds and there are warning signs on campus. According to state law, ” unlawful carrying of a firearm on university premises is a petty misdemeanor.” State leaders have touted zero tolerance and no excuses for students found with a gun on campus. “You may think somehow that bringing a gun to school is cool but it’s not, don’t ruin your life by bringing a gun onto school campus,” said Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman in March 2022.
Bregman announced last week that Peake would not face any charges. He did point out that carrying a gun on a university campus is a petty misdemeanor which is much less serious than the federal crime of bringing a gun within 1,000 feet of a K-12 school. Bregman said the previous district attorney Raúl Torrez made that call after reviewing the weight of evidence. In a statement, now Attorney General Torrez said:
Lauren Rodriguez, Communications Director, New Mexico Office of the Attorney General
Prosecutors made the decision not to charge Mike Peake with a petty misdemeanor for gun possession on campus in order to ensure his continued cooperation and subsequent testimony against three individuals charged with multiple violent felonies. Being a prosecutor sometimes involves making trade-offs in order to serve competing public safety objectives and in this case we made the informed decision to prioritize the successful identification, apprehension and prosecution of three individuals who committed a violent, premeditated attack on UNM’s campus.
In a statement, the governor’s office said:
The governor’s office is not involved in criminal investigations and cannot comment on District Attorney Bregman’s decision not to press charges. This incident does highlight, however, the need for the legislature to pass clear and common-sense gun laws, as well as other measures that increase safety at New Mexico schools, during the next session.Caroline Sweeney, Press Secretary
In a statement: New Mexico State Police said:
The New Mexico State Police has worked diligently on this investigation, and our collaboration with the district attorney’s office has been crucial in guiding our efforts. We have maintained a close working relationship with the district attorney’s office to seek their guidance and determine appropriate charges related to this case.
We will continue to consult with the district attorney’s office, as their expertise and legal insights are invaluable to us for a thorough investigation.Lt. Mark Soriano, Public Information Officer
In a statement, the University of New Mexico said:
Both UNM policies and New Mexico state law clearly prohibit the carrying of guns and other weapons on our campuses, and anyone found to be carrying weapons on campus is subject to being charged with a petty misdemeanor. We understand that the District Attorney is not seeking to charge Michael Peake with bringing a gun on UNM’s campus.
During the time that the case was under investigation, UNM took the action of banning Michael Peak from campus, increased patrols and building access controls, and communicated extensively with our community around safety, security and well-being of our resident Lobos in the wake of this terrible tragedy. As the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau led the investigation, with assistance from the New Mexico State Police Crime Scene Team and the University of New Mexico Police Department, UNM PD would not typically act independently in pursuing charges that have been evaluated by State Police and the District Attorney’s office.
That this individual was subject to the possibility of a criminal charge and will not be prosecuted in no way changes UNM’s position on unauthorized individuals having weapons on campus, our approach to law enforcement or our commitment to providing a safe and secure campus environment.Cinnamon Blair, Chief Marketing & Communications Director