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NMSU admits curfew statement was not clear, 3 players who broke rule suspended

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- NMSU officials now say a response to a question about the deadly Nov. 19 shooting on the UNM campus involving men's basketball player Mike Peake "should have been more clearly written."

The university published on Nov. 21 a list of answers to questions it received from media outlets regarding the campus shooting. It was the first time NMSU officials responded to what happened before, during and after the deadly shooting that led to the cancellation of the Battle of I-25.

As new information emerged from police reports and dash/body cam recordings was given to various media outlets, including ABC-7, one answer in particular stood out.

The question: Were any other student athletes out of the hotel that evening?

The answer from NMSU officials: "Yes. We have become aware of other student athletes who have violated NMSU team curfew rules. Those student athletes were not part of this incident."

But it's now known according to police reports that three additional NMSU men's basketball players were identified by NMSP as being near the scene of the shooting shortly after it happened and before police arrived.

Anthony Roy, Issa Muhammad and Marchelus Avery were all seen on surveillance video exiting a yellow Chevy Camaro and speaking with Mike Peake, according to the police report. Police say Peake is seen placing the gun he used in the shooting in the trunk of the vehicle, which was being driven by a woman, along with another item. The three players then get back in the Camaro and it drives off before law enforcement arrives.

"They're going to be very important people to speak to because obviously Michael probably called them and they show up, they talk, they discuss things and places the weapon and something else in the trunk," a police officer says in dash cam video obtained by ABC-7 during an interview with NMSU assistant coach Dominique Taylor hours after the shooting on Nov. 19. "Those three, other three players, you know, they know what happened because they met with Mike."

The recording reveals the NSMU coaching staff was made aware of Roy, Muhammad and Avery's proximity to the scene near the time of the shooting.

ABC-7 asked NMSU on Wednesday why it said no other players who broke curfew were involved in the incident.

NMSU spokesman Justin Bannister provided the following statement:

"I would say that statement should have been more clearly written and then should have either been taken down or re-written as additional information was learned. The 'was not part of this incident' was intended to reference Mike Peake sneaking out of his room to meet a girl and then encountering those three men with a bat and gun. The other athletes were not part of that incident. Now, as it has been widely reported, those athletes appear to have shown up later and interacted with Mike. We've debated internally whether or not to take down that page as information becomes old, but we were also trying to avoid someone saying why is it no longer available."

Just hours prior to NMSU's game at Santa Clara on Wednesday, the university confirmed Roy, Muhammad and Avery would all serve a one-game suspension. Roy did not make the trip while the other two dressed in street clothes.

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Erik Elken

Erik Elken co-anchors ABC-7’s flagship newscasts.

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