Family, friends ‘heartbroken’ after deadly shooting spree

Damian Herrera
Damian Herrera

ESPANOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – A man in northern New Mexico is accused of going on a shooting rampage. He’s now charged with five murders, including three of his family members.

It’s a case that’s rattled multiple communities, and Friday a judge denied him bond, saying he’s a threat to the community.

The Rio Arriba County Sheriff says they believe Herrera got into an argument with his step-father overtaking his car to an appointment. When Max Trujillo said he couldn’t use it, they believe that’s when the shooting began.

Friday afternoon, the District Attorney said that Herrera’s mother remained on life support, but now the sheriff confirms that she has passed away.

They also say numerous witnesses were at the home at the time, including Herrera’s sister who witnessed all three of her family members get shot.

“It breaks your heart. That’s how we are, heartbroken,” said Connie and Jimmy Ortega, who live across the street.

They were among the first to hear what happened Thursday when Herrera’s sister started banging on their door asking for help.

“She just said, ‘I need help,” she told me, ‘my brother killed Brendon, my mom and Max. They’re dead,” Connie Ortega said.

Investigators say Damian used his step-father’s own gun to kill him outside his home.

Damian Herrera appeared in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court via video arraignment, showing little emotion as the judge went through all five first-degree murder charges.

He only sighed when the shooting of his mother was brought up.

The shooting spree happened Thursday at Herrera’s home in La Madera. A criminal complaint says his sister witnessed it all unfold as he shot Max Trujillo, his step-father.

After the shooting, police say his brother, Brendon Herrera, tried to stop Damian and pinned him against the carport. That’s when it states Damian shot his brother.

The complaint states Damian’s mother, Brenda Gallegos, ran to his brother and that is when Damian also shot her.

After fleeing from the home, deputies say Herrera shot and killed a man named Michael Kyte along Forest Road near Taos. The complaint states Kyte had given Damian a ride, and after Damian shot him, stealing his truck.

From there, he then stopped at Bodes Gas Station in Abiquiu and killed Manuel Serrano. Shortly after, officers spotted Herrera leaving Bodes Gas Station and they chased him.

He crashed on Highway 84, and after getting into a fight with deputies, they Tased and arrested him.

In those criminal complaints, officials describe what family members and witnesses saw during the incident, saying Herrera appeared to be calm and blankly stared, and that he had made comments t the family that he intended to kill or hurt people for fun.

Herrera doesn’t have a criminal past, only a couple of traffic stops.

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