ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of the UNM student killed in an on-campus shooting after police say he shot at an NMSU student is speaking out and demanding answers on if Brandon Travis’ death could’ve been prevented. Nearly 40 of Brandon Travis’ family, friends, and coaches joined a Zoom call, sharing who they knew Brandon to be.
“He was just so positive to be around,” said one of his childhood friends. Nineteen-year-old Travis was a 2021 graduate from Inglewood High School in Southern California where he played football.
“He just had a great spirit about him. His attitude, everything about him was infectious,” said Mil’Von James, his high school football coach.
His parents said he came to UNM on an academic scholarship. He was also a member of the student organization Brothers Leading And Cultivating Knowledge, which supports black male students in their academic, personal, and professional goals through volunteering and community engagement.
The news of Brandon’s death shocked those who knew him. “It was emotional when I heard about it….his father was on the phone crying because that’s something you would’ve never expect to happen for him,” said Scott, Brandon’s youth football coach.
According to investigators, Travis and his two friends conspired with another UNM student to get NMSU student, Mike Peake, onto the UNM campus where they planned to jump him. Police say surveillance video shows Travis shooting Peake, who then shot back and killed him.
Police say those involved that night told detectives they wanted payback after a fight with Peake and others at the UNM-NMSU football game in Las Cruces back in October. A video of the fight has been circulating on social media.
“They see him down in the fetal position and he’s being kicked repeatedly, and black eyes and someone comes out with a broken jaw…and law enforcement is standing there and nobody’s doing anything,” said Byron, Brandon’s uncle.
No one from that fight was arrested by State Police. In a news conference last week, NMSU said they became aware of the video about five or six days after the fight happened. They said they were working on identifying who was involved. Meanwhile, NMSU Athletics Department said the student-athletes they knew were involved faced disciplinary action. But, they did not elaborate on who was disciplined or how. NMSU also said because there was no police report or arrest, the Dean of Students did not talk to their counterparts at UNM about the brawl.
Travis’ family said more should’ve been done. “That officer would’ve had a duty to act as well as the college. Had that been done, we possibly wouldn’t be doing this interview with you,” said Byron. “They didn’t act. So, all we’re asking for is just answers. That’s all we’re asking for.”
While they wait for the investigation to play out, they’re focusing on Brandon’s life before that fateful night. “I think a person is always better than what we consider the worst thing they’ve done. They have a lot of good in their life. They’ve contributed to society and Brandon is no different,” said Byron.
On Monday, NMSU told KRQE Peake was still enrolled in the university and on the basketball team. State police said the investigation is ongoing and at this point, Peake is not facing charges for bringing a firearm on UNM’s campus, which is against school policy and state law. KRQE asked state police for comment on why no arrests were made after the October brawl at the Las Cruces game but has not heard back.