Escaped N.M. inmate still on run after shooting police officer

The U.S. Marshals Service has doubled the reward to $10K for information leading to his arrest


Update: January 14, 2021. Elias Buck has been arrested in Phoenix. Read more.

By Sarah Sinning

FARMINGTON, N.M. — A manhunt is underway in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado for an escaped inmate who is believed to have shot a police officer Friday night, KRQE reports.  

Farmington Police Officer Joseph Barreto was responding to reports of a drunk driver when he came across a man and woman on foot; authorities have since identified the pair as 22-year-old Elias Buck, who escaped from the La Plata County Jail on December 27, and his girlfriend 28-year-old Victoria "Rossi" Hernandez.

In bodycam footage of the incident, Officer Barreto is seen approaching the pair; when he informs them they are being detained, however, the scene quickly escalates as Buck pulls a gun from his pocket and fires several shots at the officer, wounding him in the arm. 

Officer Barreto is reportedly recovering well after surgery.

The U.S. Marshals Service has doubled the reward to $10,000 for information leading to Buck's arrest. 

Buck has been on the run from authorities since his escape last month. According to The Durango Herald, Buck found an opening in the jail’s infrastructure behind the kitchen and fled on foot. He had been in jail since December 7 on suspicion of motor vehicle theft “and has a lengthy criminal history for crimes in multiple jurisdictions,” a news release from the La Plata County Sheriff's Office said. 

 

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