Española basketball coach fired after allegedly pointing gun at former player

Crime

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – A women’s college basketball coach in New Mexico was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on one of his former players; a woman he claims he was having a relationship with. That coach is now out of a job.


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KRQE News 13 obtained the police report that led to Javier Roper’s arrest. “This is a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months incarceration, a $5,000 fine, or both,” a judge said during Roper’s arraignment on Monday.

The 25-year-old appeared in an Española courthouse Monday afternoon, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a fourth-degree felony, and battery. “He is no longer employed at northern New Mexico College,” explained Ryan Cordova, Athletic Director for Northern New Mexico College.

Before Monday, Roper was listed as the Assistant Coach for the Northern New Mexico College women’s basketball team in Española. By Monday afternoon, Cordova announced Roper was terminated.

Javier Roper’s employee photo from Northern New Mexico College

“This type of behavior is not gonna be tolerated, not at Northern New Mexico College, and definitely not within the athletic department here, and it should not be tolerated at any institution,” Cordova told KRQE News 13.

According to a New Mexico State Police report, a former player, who according to the school, recently left the team, called police Sunday night saying her assistant basketball coach, Javier Roper, barged into her friend’s house and started calling her a “liar.”

At one point, the woman said Roper “pushed her onto the ground and threw her phone.” She said he pulled out a 9mm pistol and loaded it in front of her.

The woman told police Roper pointed the gun at her, then at her friend, and then pointed the gun at himself, making suicidal remarks. “She eventually entered her vehicle and was able to evade Javier and contact law enforcement,” the report states.

According to the police report, the former basketball player said Roper had been making advances on her that she refused. Roper, however, told authorities the two were in a “consensual relationship,” and that he thought she was cheating on him.

When asked if it is against policy for a coach to have a relationship with a player, Cordova replied, “Yes it is. And I think in most areas it is.”

Roper denies pointing the gun at anyone, saying it fell to the floor during the argument. Cordova said Roper has been serving as the strength and conditioning coach since July.

Cordova told KRQE News 13 Roper was still in his probationary period of employment with the college when the incident occurred. Roper was court-side during Friday’s game against the Lobos, working under new Eagles Head Coach, J.R. Giddens, the former Lobo star.

“The school will definitely reach out to students that were affected by this,” said Cordova. “And so in that respect we are on top of it, to make sure that students feel safe, to make sure students have counseling should they need it,” he added.

The mother of Roper’s young child has an active restraining order against him for harassing her. Northern New Mexico College’s Athletic Director said that did not come up in their background check when Roper, a former player at the school, was hired in July.

Northern New Mexico College’s Athletic Director released the following official statement:

The Northern New Mexico College Community was made aware of a situation involving
Strength and Conditioning Coach Javier Roper on Monday, Nov. 15th 2021. Mr. Roper was filling this role in an interim capacity on a part-time basis. Mr. Roper was arrested on
Sunday night in connection with an assault and battery on a student and former athlete at Northern New Mexico College. The incident happened after working hours and off of
school property. Northern New Mexico College has a strict Title IXpolicy that is
“committed to providing a work and student environment which is free of sexual harassment and will not tolerate sexual harassment activity by any of Northern’s employees, contractors, vendors or students. Northern New Mexico College will continue to make the health and safety of our students our top priority. Mr. Roper’s actions do not represent the mission or interests of this historic institution. Mr. Roper has been relieved of his duties and his employment has been terminated as a Northern New Mexico College employee.

Northern New Mexico College’s Athletic Director, Ryan Cordova

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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