Updated: January 24, 2020 06:43 PM
Created: January 23, 2020 09:30 PM
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A New Mexico State University student is on the mend nearly two months after he was shot in the leg at a fraternity initiation. The fraternity at the center of the incident has been banned from campus.
The November incident occurred almost 100 miles away from the NMSU campus at a campground near Cloudcroft. Evidence photos obtained by 4 Investigates reveal the aftermath of the shooting– which included empty beer cans, traces of blood and a handgun.
“I expected a little bit of hazing,” said sophomore Jonathan Sillas. “I didn’t think they were going to hurt us.”
Sillas was among dozens of students who attended the Kappa Sigma fraternity initiation.
Authorities identified the alleged gunman as Miguel Altamirano – who was a member of the fraternity.
“He unzipped his backpack and he pulled out a gun and he cocked it back … and that’s when I got alarmed,” said Sillas.
Interrogation video obtained by 4 Investigates shows the alleged gunman telling investigators he didn’t know the gun was loaded when he pulled the trigger.
“It was just meant to scare him, not harm him,” Altamirano told the investigator.
Sillas told 4 Investigates he was pressured by Altamirano to help cover up the incident.
“He told me to lie and say that I shot myself in the woods but I’m not going to go and lie for him,” said Sillas. “He shot me.”
ACTS OF LOYALTY
NMSU launched an internal investigation which exposed even more shocking behavior involving Kappa Sigma.
The fraternity accepted responsibility for code of conduct violations which included underage drinking and hazing – including putting guns to students heads as an act of loyalty.
“I’m pretty sure just about everyone else got the gun put on them,” said Sillas.
The university subsequently revoked Kappa Sigma’s charter and the organization is banned from campus for at least five years.
NMSU officials offered a statement about the fraternity:
“New Mexico State University cares deeply about the health and welfare of our students. We work diligently to ensure a safe and secure environment where our students have an opportunity to succeed. This incident is unacceptable and indicates a serious violation of our policies, for which we have taken steps to hold any responsible individuals accountable.”
However, Sillas doesn’t believe the university handled the incident very well but said he’s happy to be alive.
“I'm just thankful at this point, honestly, to be here walking and still able to do what I want to do in life,” he said.
Shooting suspect Altamirano has since been suspended from NMSU’s campus.
Altamirano faces a felony charge of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. His attorney told 4 Investigates the charges are too harsh and they plan to fight it.
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