ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico State University student-athlete was involved in the fatal shooting of a student from the University of New Mexico hours before the scheduled tipoff of a men’s basketball game between the rival schools that was later postponed, authorities said Sunday.
State police said the 19-year-old University of New Mexico student was declared dead at the scene of the shooting around 3 a.m. Saturday following a shootout outside a dormitory at UNM’s Albuquerque campus. The 21-year-old student-athlete from New Mexico State was wounded in the shootout and was listed in stable condition at a hospital.
New Mexico State University Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu confirmed Sunday that “one of our student athletes is now in the hospital following an altercation on the UNM campus.
“We also know that another person has lost their life following that altercation… Some of our athletics personnel stayed behind in Albuquerque to be with our student athlete,” Arvizu added in a letter to students, parents, employees, alumni and fans. “NMSU personnel have been in contact with investigators and have been cooperating with law enforcement throughout.”
Arvizu didn’t identify the student-athlete and said “additional circumstances surrounding this incident are still being investigated” and it’s important that “no one rush to judgment until all the facts are made available.”
Police said the two men had an altercation that led to an exchange of gunfire, which was being investigated as a homicide. How and why they crossed paths remained unclear Sunday.
Police said the name of the student who died was being withheld until relatives could be notified, and authorities were trying to find witnesses to the incident.
The sold-out game between the New Mexico State Aggies and New Mexico Lobos was postponed by officials from both schools in the wake of the fatal shooting.
Officer Ray Wilson, a New Mexico State Police spokesman, said officers stopped the Aggies’ team bus “as part of the ongoing investigation into the homicide” as the vehicle headed back to Las Cruces on Saturday afternoon.
The bus was later released without anyone aboard being detained, Wilson said.
“The entire Lobo community is shaken by this incident and we mourn the death of one of our students and the injuries sustained by another individual,” University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes said in a statement. “I cannot express how deeply saddened I am by this tragedy on so many levels.”
The fatal shooting came six days after a former University of Virginia football player allegedly killed three Cavaliers football players and wounded two other students on the Charlottesville campus before being arrested.