It’s been one month since the shooting death of University of New Mexico baseball player Jackson Weller, and while the suspect awaits trial in the case, leaders at UNM have revealed new information about what happened the night of the shooting.
In a news conference Tuesday, Lobos Baseball Coach Ray Birmingham and UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez described how Weller was on a first date with a woman and standing in line with her to get food when he was shot.
The shooting happened on May 4 in the Nob Hill neighborhood off Central Avenue. Albuquerque police say suspect Darian Bashir shot Weller in the chest. Bashir is charged with murder in the case and remains in jail as the case plays out in court.
Coach Birmingham described the story to journalists on Tuesday.
“He had nervously waited months to ask this young lady out and it was their first date,” said Birmingham.
As Weller was standing outside near the Imbibe nightclub and the Last Call takeout restaurant, police say a man approached Weller and shot him at close range.
“They were line, he was buying her some food before they went home and… that’s what happened,” said Birmingham.
The coach and athletic director also acknowledged Tuesday that they believe Weller was defending that woman at some point before the shooting. It’s unclear as to exactly what he was defending the woman against though.
“It’s not surprising to see someone like Jackson step up and do what was right and defend whomever it was,” said Nuñez.
Albuquerque police have only said they believe before the shooting, Weller was involved in a fight between a couple of other people who haven’t been charged in the case yet.
Nuñez says many still feel emotionally raw about what happened to Weller.
“It’s tough, it’s challenging for her right now, like every one of the student-athletes that were with her at the time and others that saw it first-hand,” said Nuñez.
The UNM Athletic Department says it’s continuing increased efforts in providing counseling and mental help for students.
“I just want to say, it’s time for all of us to unite,” said Nuñez.
Birmingham and Nuñez also put a heavy emphasis Tuesday on fixing Albuquerque’s crime problem. The two pledged their efforts in working as a team to do anything they can to help, but so far, there’s nothing specific they’re doing now beyond airing their concerns and supporting students affected by Weller’s death.