SANTA FE, N.M. — SWAT teams searched a heavily wooded neighborhood south of Santa Fe on Wednesday for a convict who escaped with six prisoners on Independence Day, then attacked a woman resident and fled when she punched him in the mouth.
Capt. John Denko said it was possible but unlikely that armed robber David Gallegos, 33, escaped a police sweep after the break-in and physical assault.
Denko said that 26 members of a state police tactical team, backed by helicopters with heat-seeking infrared scopes, searched the dense pinon pine and chamisa shrubs surrounding Canoncito, a cluster of 20 to 25 homes on plots of several acres each in a valley about 20 miles south of Santa Fe.
Gallegos was among seven inmates who broke out of the Penitentiary of New Mexico North Facility on Saturday night.
Yvonne Garcia, 19, identified Gallegos as the man who kicked in the door of a Canoncito home Tuesday and then tried to sexually assault her when she refused to give him food. The intruder fled after Garcia, who was treated at a hospital for scratches and abrasions, "hit him a good one in the mouth and split his lip," Santa Fe County sheriff's detective Fernando Gallegos said.