ESPANOLA — At approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department dispatch received a 911 call regarding a shooting that occurred at SR 111 Private Drive 1695, House # 1 in La Madera, Rio Arriba County.
Based on statements and through investigation, it was learned that the suspect, Damian Herrera, had shot and killed his mother, stepfather and brother in what appears to be a domestic dispute.
Herrera’s mother has been identified as Maria Rosita Gallegos, 49. His stepfather is identified as Max Trujillo Sr., 55, and his brother is identified as Brendan Herrera, 20. The suspect and victims are all from the La Madera area.
At approximately 5:45 p.m., another call to dispatch was made regarding another shooting. This shooting occurred at Forest Road 222, House # 20 in Tres Piedras, Taos County. The investigation revealed that Herrera shot and killed Michael Kyte, 61, of Tres Piedras. After killing Kyte, Herrera stole Kyte’s Chevrolet pickup and traveled north on US 84 to Antonito, Colorado. From there, Herrera traveled west into the Cumbre Pass, then south to Chama. From Chama, Herrera continued south through Tierra Amarilla to Abiquiu.
While in Abiquiu, Herrera stopped at the Bode’s General Store at 21196 US 84. While at Bode’s General Store, Herrera shot and killed Manuel Serrano, 59, of Youngsville. This murder occurred at approximately 8:15 p.m. Thursday.
Herrera fled from Bode’s General Store southbound on US 84. At this point, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department deputies located Herrera in the stolen Chevrolet pickup and initiated a pursuit. Interviews revealed that Herrera was driving so fast that when he came upon a curve he was unable to maintain his lane of travel and veered into oncoming traffic. A New Mexico State Police Crisis Negotiation Team member’s vehicle happened to be a vehicle in the opposite lane responding to the shooting in Abiquiu. It appears that Herrera over corrected in an attempt to avoid colliding head-on with the NMSP vehicle and crashed into a tree at approximately 8:30 p.m. on the shoulder off the right side of the road.
Post-crash, Herrera exited the stolen vehicle and ran toward deputies where he initiated a fight. During the scuffle, Herrera attempted to disarm a deputy. At some point during the scuffle that deputy’s sidearm discharged. No one was injured when the pistol discharged. A second deputy deployed his taser and struck Herrera. A short time later, Herrera was arrested. During this struggle, an Espanola Police Department officer injured his elbow.
These homicides are being investigated by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau and the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department (RASD). RASD is specifically handling the triple homicide in La Madera. NMSP is handling the homicide in Tres Piedras, the homicide in Abiquiu and the pursuit and crash at milepost 197 on US 84 where Herrera was taken into custody.
This investigation encompasses five crime scenes and numerous witnesses. NMSP requested crime scene support from the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). APD sent multiple CST personnel and equipment to assist with the five crime scenes.
Herrera was transported to the hospital where he was cleared for incarceration. He will be booked in the Rio Arriba County Detention Center on five open counts of murder.
This investigation is ongoing.