Police in the Four Corners region are searching for a Colorado jail escapee they say shot and wounded a Farmington (NM) Police Department officer on Friday night.
Farmington PD says that around 10:18 p.m., officers responded to a report of a possible drunk driver. According to police, one officer contacted a male, later identified by authorities as 22-year-old Elias Buck, as well as a woman later identified as 28-year-old Victoria “Rossi” Hernandez who were walking in the area and matched the description of the occupants of the car. Authorities say that Buck pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots at the officer identified as Officer Joseph Barreto, hitting him.
FPD says Ofc. Barreto returned fire and radioed for assistance. Both Buck and Hernandez ran from the scene.
Barreto was immediately transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center. As of Monday, Jan. 10, officials with the Farmington Police Department say that Officer Barreto, 25, had successful surgery on Saturday and that he remains in the hospital and is in stable condition, KRQE reports.
KOB reports Officer Barreto could face long-term injury and recovery from his injuries.
Buck reportedly escaped from the La Plata (CO) County Jail on December 27. He was in jail on car theft charges. The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office states that Buck had previously made statements that he “will not go back to jail” and highlights that his actions indicate that he is very dangerous.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe believes there are multiple people who have helped Buck avoid arrest.
“This person almost killed our police officer. He's a 25-year-old kid. He has a wife and a kid. It's absolutely ridiculous for people to be helping somebody who is clearly that dangerous and who clearly could cause the death of another officer under other circumstances.”