Man accused in shooting rampage tries to escape from jail

RIO ARRIBA COUNTY, N.M (KRQE) – The man accused of gunning down five people, including three of his own family members, in northern New Mexico is proving to be an issue behind bars.

Since Damian Herrera was arrested, the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office said he’s tried to escape from jail twice.

KRQE News 13 is told Herrera tried to make a run for it after he tricked one jail guard, then attacked another.

Now, the sheriff’s office is saying he needs to move facilities. They say Herrera continues to have problems with authorities from behind bars at the Rio Arriba County jail in Tierra Amarilla.

After Herrera allegedly shot his mom, step-dad, brother and two strangers in northern New Mexico last month, Herrera got into a scuffle with the deputies who finally caught up with him.

“Stop right there! Stop right there! Hands up,” a Rio Arriba County deputy yelled as Herrera started charging him, as captured on lapel video. Herrera’s response was vulgar. He even tried to reach for one of their guns.

The Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office said Herrera recently tricked a guard. Herrera claimed the toilet in his cell wasn’t working, so the guard went in to check it out. Herrera’s accused of locking the guard inside.

Captain Randy Sanches with RACSO said Herrera then got his hands on a metal flashlight and started hitting another guard. He was finally stopped by a third guard and a jail medic.

Before even setting foot in jail, Herrera made his feelings toward law enforcement clear, unleashing a tirade on them.

After being arrested, Herrera yelled at deputies to take off the handcuffs from his wrists, “I have rights, bro. This is f****** America. Take off these things,” he said.

Just after the murders, Herrera’s sisters told KRQE News 13 something is clearly wrong with their brother.

“He was sick mentally. He would hear things,” his sister said.

Captain Sanches said the Sheriff’s Office and the jail are now working with the District Attorney to move Herrera to a facility for higher-risk inmates, like the prison in Santa Fe. Until that happens, he’s being kept under 24-hour direct supervision.

Herrera tried to escape before this latest incident, too. It’s unclear when exactly but that first time, the sheriff’s office said, Herrera was caught scoping out the jail looking for a way out.

The Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Office said the guard Herrera attacked had some bumps and bruises afterwards. Otherwise, no major injuries. 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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