Quintuple homicide defendant indicted on murder charges


Damian Herrera, a young Taos County man accused of murdering three of his family members and two strangers during a shooting spree across Northern New Mexico in June, has been indicted on four counts of first-degree murder and other charges connected to the deadly event.

First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna announced the indictments Thursday morning (Nov. 16).

According to a press release from Serna's office, a Rio Arriba County Grand Jury indicted Herrera on four counts of first-degree murder; tampering with evidence; unlawfully taking a vehicle or motor vehicle; aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer; possession of a stolen vehicle; resisting, evading or obstructing an officer; attempt to commit the crime of disarming a peace officer; assault on a peace officer; larceny; and theft of a credit card.

The shootings took place on June 15 and began at Herrera's family home in La Madera, a small mountain town west of the Río Grande Gorge. There, Herrera allegedly murdered his brother, Brendon Herrera, 20; step-father, Max Trujillo Sr., 55; and his mother, Maria "Brenda" Rosita Gallegos, 49.

Following the shooting, Herrera made his north and allegedly murdered a fourth victim, Michael Kyte, 61, of Tres Piedras. Hours later, Herrera allegedly shot to death his fifth victim, Manuel Serrano, 59, at a gas station in Abiquiú, southwest of La Madera.

Law enforcement officers arrested Herrera as the suspect fled south along State Road 84. Herrera was incarcerated in Río Arriba County, where his case continues to be processed.

"This horrific tragedy rocked northern New Mexico to its core and I am focused on bringing swift justice and healing to the incredible and resilient people of our community," Serna said. "Crimes like these are never easy to understand or explain, but I can assure New Mexicans I am working tirelessly to bring justice, prevent future tragedies, and keep our communities safe from violent crime."

For more on this story, read past coverage in The Taos News archives.