Lobos baseball player gunned down outside Albuquerque nightclub

May 6, 2019

A University of New Mexico student-athlete was shot and killed outside an Albuquerque nightclub early Saturday morning, police said.

Jackson Weller, a 23-year-old junior from Keller, Texas, was gunned down in the area of Imbibe, a Nob Hill cigar bar on Central Avenue two blocks from the UNM campus, police said.

Weller was a member of the New Mexico baseball team, although he wasn’t listed on the Lobos’ roster after suffering an undisclosed injury in the fall.

Police had not named any suspects as of Saturday afternoon.

UNM head coach Ray Birmingham made the initial announcement of Weller’s death, saying Weller was “shot and killed getting food across the street after the game.”

The Lobos opened a three-game series Friday night against Mountain West Conference rival Air Force at Santa Ana Star Field. UNM postponed the final two games with no makeup dates announced.

UNM athletic director Eddie Nunez called the shooting a “senseless tragedy.”

“The loss of Jackson Weller is devastating to the entire Lobo family,” Nunez said in a statement. “He was a very special young man whose absence will be deeply felt.”

UNM athletics spokesman Daniel Gallegos said Weller was not part of the Lobos’ official 35-man roster but was considered part of the program after transferring last year from GateWay Community College in Phoenix. He had not appeared in a game for UNM, but was hopeful of making the team’s active roster this fall.

“He had an injury that hindered him a little bit,” Gallegos said. “He’s been here all year and had plans to come back in the fall, I know that.”

Police were dispatched to Central and Richmond Drive at 2:15 a.m. Saturday in response to a shooting. The victim had been shot at least once, according to a statement from Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos.

Weller was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The news of his killing prompted a wave of social media responses. Among them were Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, the Albuquerque Isotopes and mixed martial arts coach Greg Jackson of Albuquerque’s JacksonWink Academy.

Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV reported that the owner of Imbibe said his surveillance cameras recorded the shooting incident outside the bar.

Weller appeared in 14 games for GateWay in 2017, posting a 1-1 record with 4.35 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 31 innings. He did not play last season.

He attended high school in the Dallas Metroplex just north of Fort Worth. He was a right-handed pitcher, making most of his appearances as a reliever.

Earlier this school year, Birmingham had a player quit the team over a holdup. Last fall, he had a highly touted catcher held up at gunpoint outside a UNM-area grocery store. That player dropped out of classes, withdrew from the university and returned home, Birmingham said.

He spoke about that incident after Friday’s game, just a few hours before Weller’s death.

“You lose some kids because they’re homesick and other kids because they get hurt or just can’t make it, but to lose a player because of that says a lot,” Birmingham said. “Those are the kinds of things you just have to deal with sometimes, you know?”