A man accused of killing five people in a June shooting rampage in New Mexico has been indicted on first-degree murder and numerous other charges.

First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna announced the findings Thursday of a Rio Arriba County grand jury in the case of Damian Herrera.

In a crime spree that crisscrossed northern New Mexico, police said Herrera killed his mother, stepfather and brother before killing a man who stopped to help him when he ran out of gas and another man he encountered hours later at a gas station.

The indictment lists four counts of murder and includes charges of evidence tampering; unlawful taking of a vehicle; possession of a stolen vehicle; aggravated fleeing; resisting, evading or obstructing an officer; and assault on an officer.

“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 in a statement, adding that crimes like this are “never easy to understand or explain.”

Herrera, 22, has yet to make a plea in the case as an arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

Todd Farkas, a public defense attorney with the state’s capital crimes unit, said Thursday he had not seen the indictment but noted that Herrera still has the support of his family.

In custody since his arrest following the shootings, Herrera was moved to an undisclosed location in August after twice attempting to escape from the county jail. One of the escape attempts involved an assault on a guard.

Police have said Herrera’s sister and others were at the family’s home in La Madera when the shootings began.

After the three initial shootings, authorities allege Herrera traveled roughly 200 miles (322 kilometers) through northern New Mexico on Forest Service roads and winding two-lane highways.

Police say Herrera, while headed north toward the New Mexico-Colorado state line, killed Michael Kyte and took his truck. Hours later, officers spotted him near the small community of Abiquiu, where he was accused of killing a fifth victim, Manuel Serrano, who worked nearby at the home and studio of the late artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

Herrera led officers on chase before crashing and being taken into custody.

Four of counts of murder were filed by authorities based in Rio Arriba County, while prosecutors based in Taos County have been assembling evidence against Herrera in the killing that took place at Tres Piedras.

Search warrants filed in district court show authorities found a revolver, a rifle with a scope and dozens of rounds of ammunition in one of the trucks Damian Herrera is believed to have used the day of the shootings.

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SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
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