Farmington, NM – Authorities released bodycam video on Tuesday that showed the moment a fugitive who had escaped from a Colorado jail shot a Farmington police officer on Friday night (video below).
The Farmington Police Department (FPD) said the incident occurred at about 10:15 p.m. on Jan. 7 when Farmington Police Officer Joseph Barreto was responding to a report of a drunk driver, the Denver Gazette reported.
Bodycam video showed that Officer Barreto encountered 22-year-old Elias Buck and 28-year-old Victoria “Rossi” Hernandez as soon as he got out of his patrol vehicle.
Officer Barreto shined his flashlight on Buck and Hernandez as they approached him, the video showed.
The video showed the officer asked the pair where they were coming from and Buck responded with some nonsensical statements about running away from someone with blonde hair on 20th Street.
The officer told Buck and Hernandez to take a seat by the fence and that was when the suspects’ demeanor changed.
“Are we being detained?” Buck asked in the video.
“Yeah, you are,” Officer Barreto responded.
“Why?” Buck asked as he reached into his right pocket and pulled out a handgun.
The video showed the gunman immediately began firing at Officer Barreto.
The officer returned fire but both Buck and Hernandez fled on foot and escaped before more police arrived on the scene a moment later.
The video showed that after Officer Barreto was shot in his right arm, he radioed dispatch and reported “officer down,” and then provided a detailed description of the suspects and their direction of flight.
Officer Barreto was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center where he underwent surgery for his gunshot wound on Jan. 9, the Farmington Daily Times reported.
The 25-year-old officer has since been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe pointed out in a statement released with the video how quickly Buck reacted to learning Officer Barreto planned to detain him, the Farmington Daily Times reported.
“The body camera footage displays how fast the situation turns dangerous for Officer Barreto with no warning and very little chance to react. He very easily could’ve been killed,” Chief Hebbe said.
Police searched for the gunman but neither Buck nor Hernandez have been apprehended yet, the Farmington Daily Times reported.
After Officer Barreto was shot, investigators learned that Buck was an escapee from the La Plata County jail in Colorado.
Farmington police are searching for 22-year-old Elias Buck after shooting a Farmington police officer late last night. pic.twitter.com/nWXSxWUaOb
— Farmington Police NM (@FPDNM) January 8, 2022
A reward for $10,000 is being offered by the U.S. Marshals Service for reliable information leading to Buck’s arrest, the Farmington Daily Times reported.
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office has also offered an additional $5,000 reward.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING: Graphic Content and Obscene Language: