ABIQUIU, N.M. (AP) — The mother of a man who went on a shooting rampage in New Mexico died several hours after being taken off life support, bringing the number of deaths to five, authorities said.
District Attorney Marco Serna and Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan confirmed the death late Friday of 49-year-old Maria “Brenda” Gallegos.
Serna initially reported her death after she was removed from life support, leading authorities to believe she had died. But he said later she remained in critical condition for some time before dying.
Damian Herrera, 21, is accused of fatally shooting his stepfather and brother before turning the gun on his mother on Thursday.
He then traveled 200 miles (322 kilometers) across New Mexico and fatally shot two more people before he was arrested, authorities said.
His sister and others were at the family home in La Madera when the shootings began.
Witnesses told police that Herrera shot his stepfather first while the two were outside. Hearing his calls, Herrera’s brother and mother went outdoors. The brother was shot in the neck during a struggle, and Herrera then shot his mother in the head as she begged for mercy, according to a criminal complaint.
After Herrera gunned down his family, he carjacked and killed a driver before fatally shooting another man hours later at a general store in a tiny town, police said.
Herrera was caught after sheriff’s deputies spotted the stolen pickup and chased it. He was speeding through a curve when the truck veered into oncoming traffic, overcorrected and crashed into a tree, police said.
Herrera got out and ran toward deputies. He tried to grab one of their guns and it fired, authorities said. A second deputy used a stun gun on Herrera, and he was taken into custody.
Herrera had made troubling statements to family members in the past about his intentions to kill or hurt people for fun, court documents said.
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