Former corrections officer awarded Medal of Honor

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Thirty-four years after the deadly New Mexico prison riot, a former corrections officer was honored Tuesday for his bravery.

Louis C De Baca was given the Medal of Honor at a ceremony in Albuquerque.

Department of Corrections officials said he displayed courage in 1980 when inmates took over the state pen in Santa Fe.

C De Baca rushed from his post outside the prison walls and into the prison.

He arrived at the control center just as inmates began breaking into what was supposed to be unbreakable glass.

Within seconds, C De Baca and another officer escaped with just seconds to spare.

The corrections secretary says C De Baca risked his life to help his fellow officers.

But he says he was just doing his job.

He says the medal represents what all law enforcement officers do to protect the community.

During the riot, inmates hunted each other down torturing and murdering dozens.

Eventually state police and the National Guard regained control.

The old state pen was closed in 1997. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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