RIO ARRIBA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – New video shows the tense encounter deputies had when they arrested the man now charged with gunning down five people in northern New Mexico, including his own family.
The video released by the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office shows the dramatic end after deputies searched for hours last month for a gunman on the loose.
Damian Herrera is charged with murdering his stepdad Max Trujillo, mother Brenda Gallegos and brother Brendon Herrera, shooting them in front of his little sister at their La Madera home.
From there, investigators say he got away in his stepdad’s truck, killing Michael Kyte near Taos and stealing his truck. Then, he is accused of killing Manuel Serrano at a gas station in Abiquiu.
After leaving that scene, deputies say they caught up with him on Highway 84.
“He’s driving recklessly,” a deputy said, as he followed behind Herrera.
They say Herrera crashed and then got out and rushed a deputy.
“Stop right there! Stop right there!” a deputy shouted at Herrera.
A scuffle continued in the middle of the highway. Deputies used a Taser and, at one point, a deputy’s gun went off but it didn’t hit anyone.
“He was grabbing my gun,” a deputy said of Herrera.
“I wasn’t trying to get anything,” he responded “You guys f***ing tackled me.”
Deputies say Herrera had a knife on him and that a gun was found in his truck.
He called on deputies to remove his handcuffs.
“I have rights, bro. This is f***ing America. Take off this thing,” Herrera said.
“It’s not gonna happen,” a deputy answered.
Herrera later told investigators he was attacked by his stepdad in an argument over spilled gasoline, claiming his stepdad killed his brother and mother when they stepped in and that he had to get the gun and kill his stepdad in self-defense.
That is a totally different story than what Herrera’s 16-year-old sister told investigators she witnessed on the day of the murders.
KRQE News 13 has learned a doctor evaluated Herrera in jail and found that he’s not competent to stand trial.
His case is now being transferred to Rio Arriba County District Court.