FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – Police are searching for a man they say shot and wounded a Farmington Police Department officer on Friday night. FPD states that around 10:18 p.m., officers responded to a report of a possible drunk driver in the area of East Main Street and North Tucker Ave.
According to police, one officer contacted a male, later identified as 22-year-old Elias Buck, as well as a woman later identified as 28-year-old Victoria “Rossi” Hernandez who was walking in the area and matched the description of the occupants of the car. Authorities state that Buck pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots at the officer identified as Officer Joseph Barreto, hitting him in the right arm.
FPD says Ofc. Barreto returned fire and radioed for assistance. Both Buck and Hernandez ran from the scene.
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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 had successful surgery on Saturday and that he remains in the hospital and is in stable condition. FPD says that Officer Barreto is 25-years-old and has been with the department since 2018.
In a news release from FPD, authorities report that while SWAT teams from FPD, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, and New Mexico State Police searched the areas of North Tucker Ave., North Fairway Ave., and the connecting streets between East 20th St. and East Main St. throughout that night, Buck wasn’t located. An SJCSO helicopter and NMSP drone operators assisted in the search.
Police are now asking for the community’s assistance in locating Buck who is described as being 6’1″ tall and weighing about 185 pounds. He is said to have green eyes and blonde hair. FPD report that Buck is dangerous and known to be armed.
Anyone with information on Buck’s location is asked to contact their local police department or dial 911 immediately. The U.S. Marshals Service increased the reward for information leading up to the arrest of Buck to $10,000 on Monday night.
All tips and information will remain anonymous and can also be submitted to La Plata County Sheriff’s Office Central Dispatch at 970-385-2900 or by direct messaging them on social media.
On Friday, KRQE News 13 reported that Buck had escaped from the La Plata 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.