$5,000 reward issued for information leading to arrest of man who allegedly shot officer

Elias Buck was formally charged in connection to the shooting

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office on the night of Jan. 8 posted on its Facebook page that there is a $5,000 reward for the arrest of Elias Buck.
  • The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office around 2 p.m. on Jan. 8 received two tips that Buck might be in La Plata County.
  • Buck was charged with a third-degree felony count of aggravated battery upon a peace officer (deadly weapon).

FARMINGTON — A $5,000 reward has been issued for information leading to the arrest of the Colorado man accused of shooting a Farmington police officer as the search for the suspect intensifies in the La Plata County area.

Escaped inmate Elias Buck is now formally charged with a third-degree felony for allegedly shooting the officer. More details of the encounter are included in court documents.

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office on the night of Jan. 8 posted on its Facebook page that there is a $5,000 reward for Buck's arrest.

Buck, 22, of Durango, Colorado, was identified earlier that day as the man who allegedly shot Farmington police officer Joseph Barreto on the night of Jan. 7 during a DWI investigation.

Members of the Farmington Police Department walk across the Carl's Jr. parking lot at 2300 E. Main St. on the morning of Jan. 8 as they search for Elias Buck, accused of shooting a Farmington officer on Jan. 7.

Barreto underwent surgery on Jan. 8 and is in stable condition at San Juan Regiona Medical Center on Jan. 10, according to Farmington Police Department spokesperson Nicole Brown.

Buck is the same person who escaped from the La Plata County Jail on Dec. 27.

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The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office around 2 p.m. on Jan. 8 received two tips that Buck might be in La Plata County. That led the sheriff’s office to open an incident command post, working with agencies including the Durango Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol and United States Marshals Service to search for him.

Buck has reportedly made statements that he “will not go back to jail” and is considered dangerous.

Anyone with information on Buck and Hernandez’s whereabouts is asked to immediately call 911 or their local police department. 

Criminal case filed against Buck

Court documents filed on Jan. 10 in Farmington Magistrate Court formally charged Buck with a third-degree felony count of aggravated battery upon a peace officer (deadly weapon), according to the criminal complaint.

It was around 10:17 p.m. on Jan. 7 that a suspected drunk driver was reported in the Starbucks drive thru at 2900 E. Main St., according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The black Cadillac passenger car was seen leaving the business at a high rate of speed and later found abandoned in the Carl’s Jr. parking lot at 2300 E. Main St.

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Barreto found Buck and Hernandez walking in the area of 10th street and North Fairview Avenue.

The affidavit states Barreto told Buck he was being detained when Buck allegedly reached into his waistband for a firearm, asked why he was being detained and shot the officer.

Elias Buck

Barreto returned fire as Buck and Herandez fled on foot, and the officer then told dispatch he'd been shot, according to the affidavit.

A Farmington sergeant who responded to the call said he saw Buck fleeing on foot in the area.

An individual at Starbucks was able to positively identify Buck as the driver of the black Cadillac vehicle, according to court documents.

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The black Cadillac was located by officers and a search warrant was executed on the vehicle.

A gun was found in the vehicle along with cash, “narcotics,” wigs and ammunition, according to the search warrant inventory sheet.

Blue jeans with a black belt and two Samsung Galaxy phones were also found. 

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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