RIO ARRIBA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Surveillance video from inside the Rio Arriba County Jail in Tierra Amarilla captures accused murderer Damian Herrera attacking guards earlier this month.
Herrera is accused of five murders back in June across northern New Mexico. It’s believed Herrera killed his step-dad, brother and mother before gunning down two strangers.
Newly released video shows the moments Herrera recently attacked guards and an EMT inside the Rio Arriba County Jail, where he’s been held since he was arrested following the hours-long manhunt.
From the video, it’s clear Herrera had a plan. He knew how to dupe the guard into going into his cell, then went right for his weapon of choice to attack another guard — a metal flashlight.
It happened around 11 p.m. on July 15. According to jail guard statements, Herrera was on an hour break outside his cell, meandering around the facility shirtless, when he asked a guard to check on his sink. He said it wouldn’t stop running. When the guard went to look at it, Herrera closed the door behind him, locking him inside the cell.
There’s no audio, but the video pretty well outlines the events.
After Herrera locked the guard in his cell, he ran to grab a flashlight stashed under a nearby desk, then posted up around a corner waiting for another guard to come by.
By this point, the guard trapped inside the cell had called for help. So when the next guard ran through the hallway, Herrera smacked him with the heavy, metal flashlight. A struggle ensued between the the two, during which the guard used a plastic chair to defend himself.
An EMT rushed to help the guard and Herrera swung at both over and over again. When a third guard got involved, Herrera was finally subdued and eventually put into a restraining chair.
At the end of the video, the guards place Herrera locked tight in the chair in a hallway by himself. He appears to wail aloud for several minutes.
Because of this attack and another incident that happened July 11, where Herrera wandered into the jail kitchen and became aggressive, the county is looking to move Herrera to a higher security facility — proving he’s a problem behind bars.
Jail Administrator Larry DeYapp said there is an internal investigation into these two incidents but would not elaborate further.
He also wouldn’t comment on the possibility of Herrera moving facilities. The Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office, however, has vocalized that it would like to see Herrera moved to a higher security facility.
Herrera has been charged with the five murders, but he’s been found not competent to stand trial. He claims he killed his step-dad in self defense after step-dad killed mom and brother. Herrera claims the other two murders were also in self defense.