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Crime scene investigators stand amidst a number of bullet shells in front of Homie Hook-up's on 20th Street on Friday night after two men opened fire on the store, shooting off-duty San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy Dale E. Tucker in thigh.
FARMINGTON — An off-duty San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy was shot in the leg Friday by two men who were firing at a music store near the corner of 20th Street and Carlton Avenue.

Deputy Dale E. Tucker was hit in the thigh by one shot around 5:15 p.m., after hearing what he thought were firecrackers nearby, Sheriff Bob Melton said.

"I'm very happy to report that he's doing well, and hopefully he will be released from the hospital soon," Melton said.

Police could not confirm whether the shooters targeted the two men inside Homie Hook Up's, a compact disc and T-shirt store at 1603 E. 20th St., or the store itself.

"Two subjects walked up to the front of the business and opened fire with handguns," Farmington Police Capt. Dan Calkins said.

Witnesses described the shooters as young Hispanic men with short hair, wearing dark clothing and each carrying a handgun.

The Farmington SWAT team was canvassing the area south of 20th Street on Knudsen Avenue after witnesses reported the gunmen ran in that direction. Police, who searched various locations in the area for more than two hours, were unable to locate the suspects through late Friday evening.

Dozens of different police units, including Farmington police, state police and sheriff's deputies, responded to the scene. Traffic was blocked on streets throughout the area for hours.

Deputy Tucker was inside The Shaggy Dog, a dog grooming shop two doors west of Homie Hook-ups, with family members when he heard the incident happening in the same strip mall.

"The subjects who had shot up the store starting shooting at (Tucker) as he stepped around the corner," Calkins said.

As many as 12 shell casings were marked as evidence in front of the store, and around the corner on Carton Avenue. At least two shots hit cars parked in the area.

"As they were leaving, and that deputy was stepping out, they were flinging rounds back down (Carlton Avenue)," Calkins said.

Tucker was not in uniform and was unarmed, Melton said.

It is unclear whether Tucker announced himself as a sheriff's deputy before he was shot at Friday.

"The details of exactly what happened are obviously still a little sketchy," Melton said. "Our concern right now is for the deputy's health and welfare."

The bullet wound Tucker received passed straight through his thigh, the sheriff said, but doctors believed it didn't cause a significant injury. He was listed in stable condition at 9 p.m. Friday.

Tucker has served San Juan County as a deputy with the Sheriff's Office for 17 years.

James Monteleone: jmonteleone@daily-times.com