DENVER (CBS4) – Luis Archuleta, the 77-year-old man who shot a Denver police officer decades ago, is back in the Colorado prison system after 46 years on the run. That’s according to Colorado prison records.
Archuleta’s hideout in New Mexico was discovered thanks to persistent detective work by the man he shot so many years ago.
Prison records show Archuleta, 77, is now located at the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center, and is not eligible for parole until 2024.
Back in 1971, Archuleta, who also went by Lawrence Pusateri, shot then-Denver police officer Daril Cinqanta on Mariposa Way. Archuleta was eventually caught and sentenced to nine to 14 years for the crime. However, he later escaped after Cinquanta said Archuleta faked an illness to get a procedure at a state hospital.
“It was an escape from a Hollywood script,” Cinquanta said. “Took a hostage, a getaway car, an accomplice with guns.”
Cinquanta, who has since retired from the police force and now works as a private investigator, has been chasing him ever since — for 46 years.
“I can’t even tell you how many people I talked to,” Cinquanta said. “I visited the homes of criminals, people who were involved in this case.”
On June 24, Cinquanta says a source called him to tell him Archuleta was hiding in New Mexico.
“It sounded too good to be true, so I went to work and I verified and corroborated all of his information,” Cinquanta explained.
Archuleta had created an entirely new identity and was going by the name Ramon Montoya, but Cinquanta was able to verify it was the shooter he’s been looking for. Once he knew it was Archuleta, he contacted local police and the FBI, who sent in SWAT to capture him.
Cinquanta said it was a total relief to learn his shooter had finally been captured.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Cinquanta said. “I’ve been chasing the guy all of this time, and dead end after dead end after dead end.”