ALBUQUERQUE, NM — A New Mexico State University student-athlete was involved in the fatal shooting of a University of New Mexico student hours before the scheduled tip 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 pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting around 3 a.m. Saturday after a shooting broke out outside a dorm on the UNM campus in Albuquerque. The 21-year-old New Mexico athletic student was injured in the shooting and was taken to a hospital in stable condition.
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 lost their life following this altercation. Some of our athletics staff stayed behind in Albuquerque to be with our student-athlete,” Arvizu added in a letter to students, parents, staff, alumni and fans. “NMSU personnel have been in contact with investigators and have been cooperating with law enforcement throughout.”
Arvizu did not identify the student-athlete and said “additional circumstances surrounding this incident are still being investigated” and that it is important that “no one will jump to judgment until all the facts are available.”
Police said the two men had an altercation that led to an exchange of gunfire, which is being investigated as a homicide. How and why their paths crossed remained unclear on Sunday.
Police said the name of the deceased student was being withheld until family members 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 after the fatal shooting by officials from both schools.
Officer Ray Wilson, a spokesman for the New Mexico State Police, said officers pulled over the Aggies team bus “as part of the ongoing investigation into the murder” as the vehicle was driving back to Las Cruces Saturday afternoon.
The bus was later released without anyone on board being arrested, Wilson said.
“The entire Lobo community is shocked by this incident and we mourn the death of one of our students and the injuries sustained to another person,” 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 deadly shooting came six days after a former University of Virginia football player was arrested in the killing of three Cavaliers football players and wounding two other students on the Charlottesville campus.