FARMINGTON — Newly-released footage from the body camera worn by a Farmington police officer who was shot and wounded Friday night illustrates how quickly a peace officer’s job can potentially become deadly.
The camera captured video of a man police identified as an inmate who had escaped from a Colorado jail pulling a gun on the officer and firing at him at point blank range.
The Farmington Police Department on the night of Jan. 11 released video footage captured by Officer Joseph Barreto’s body camera from the night of Jan 7.
Elias Buck, 22, of Durango, Colorado, is wanted by law enforcement for a felony count of aggravated battery on a police officer.
Buck is accused of shooting Barreto once in his right arm amid the multiple gunshots fired at the officer, according to Farmington police spokesperson Nicole Brown and court documents.
Barreto has been discharged from San Juan Regional Medical Center and is recovering at his residence. He underwent surgery for his gunshot wound on Jan. 9.
The officer in a statement said he sincerely thanks everyone for their prayers and help during this time.
“My family greatly appreciates it and it has helped alleviate some of the stress put on them. I’m going to try to recover as fast as I can so I can get back out there with my shift and the department that has treated me like family,” Joseph Barreto said in a statement. “Again I just want to wholeheartedly thank everyone for their support.”
Body camera footage details shooting of Farmington police officer
Farmington police released two videos: the raw, unedited footage from Barreto’s body camera and a version edited to remove explicit language and enhance the footage at times to better see the shooter and the woman police identified as Victoria "Rossi" Hernandez in the dark video footage.
The video footage echoes the details released by police and contained in court documents.
Barreto exits his patrol vehicle and starts walking toward a fenced area. He is shining a flashlight toward the man and woman. The officer starts to walk toward the two and they start to approach him.
Barreto asks them where they are coming from, and the man identified as Buck tells him from 20th Street. The man then mentions something about a man with blonde hair.
When Barreto asks them to take a seat near the fence, the man responds by asking if he’s been detained.
Barreto then responds that they are being detained and, without hesitation, the man pulls the handgun from his sweatshirt and immediately starts firing on Barreto.
The woman is heard shrieking as the body camera is shaking when Barreto returns fire. The couple flee the area as Barreto radios in his location to dispatch, stating “Officer Down” as he lays on the ground.
The camera captures patrol vehicles arriving at Barreto’s location.
While lying on the ground, Barreto gives dispatch the man's clothing description despite the pain he appears to be suffering from his wound.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe in a statement notes how quickly the shooter reacts to being detained by firing on the officer.
“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,” Hebbe said.
Reward offered in search for suspect in shooting of Farmington officer
The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $10,000 reward for reliable information which leads to Buck's arrest, along with $5,000 from the La Plata County Sheriff's Office in Colorado.
Buck is described as six feet and one inch tall with green eyes and blonde hair, weighing about 185 pounds.
Hernandez, wanted as a person of interest, is listed at 135 pounds, standing five feet and five inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information on the incident can leave a tip at the Farmington police detective tip line at 505-599-1068.
Fundraiser started for Officer Barreto's family
A friend of Barreto's family has started a GoFundMe fundraiser campaign to help them pay their bills.
The campaign states the family heavily relied on the officer working overtime to pay their bills and that he is only receiving his base pay now.
Barreto is married and has a three-year-old son, according to the GoFundMe.
It also states his medical expenses are being covered by workman's comp so the funds will help the family with daily and unforeseen expenses.
Donations can be made at https://gofund.me/ab2ee0f6.
Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at email@example.com.
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This article originally appeared on Farmington Daily Times: Police release body camera footage from officer shot last week