New Mexico prison guard from 1980 riot honored

Created: 05/28/2014 7:59 AM
By: The Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico guard who escaped one of the nation's deadliest prison riots has received a posthumous honor.

The state's Department of Corrections presented the "Medal of Honor" to the daughter of Herman Gallegos last week after officials finally located his family.

Officials say Gallegos slipped out of New Mexico's "Old Main during the deadly February 1980 riot by disguising himself as an inmate.

During the riot, inmates killed 33 fellow prisoners in a violent clash that included beheadings, amputations and burned bodies. More than 100 other inmates and guards were hurt in the 36-hour riot fueled by overcrowded conditions.

The family of Gallegos couldn't be located for a 2013 ceremony honoring former guards but was found later after the daughter contacted corrections officials.

Gallegos died in 2012.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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