2020 Arrest Made for ‘Cop Shooter’ and Two-time Prison Escapee Luis Archuleta

Luis Archuleta, left, and Daril Cinquanta, right.
Luis Archuleta, left, shot rookie Denver Police Officer Daril Cinquanta, right, in 1971 and was convicted of the felony shooting in 1973 before escaping custody just one year later. / Credit Daril Cinquanta.

Luis Archleta, also known as Larry Pusateri and Ramon Montoya, was detained in New Mexico one year ago for escaping custody of the state prison system in 1974 after he was convicted the previous year of shooting a Denver police officer during a traffic stop in 1971. The 77-year-old man had been living in Española for more than four decades, evading authorities. Archuleta was the subject of a manhunt for two FBI divisions and the Denver Police Department, but his victim, Daril Cinquanta, spent years tracking him down in his own pursuit of justice. 

According to an August 2020 New York Times article, “Cinquanta, a retired Denver police officer, never forgot the man who shot him while he was on duty in 1971.” Cinquanta eventually found Archuleta through an anonymous tip last summer telling him to check out a man living in Española and going by the name “Ramon Montoya.” Cinquanta passed on the information to the Denver and Albuquerque divisions of the FBI after a search revealed the man going by Montoya was likely Archuleta. 

Archuleta’s 1974 prison escape from Colorado was covered on “America’s Most Wanted.” He was already wanted for burglary and drug possession convictions, and a prison escape from California. Archuleta coordinated that escape by crumpling blankets and pillows up under the sheets of his prison bed. His escape from Colorado prison involved slipping away from custody while being treated at a state hospital in Pueblo with another inmate.

The Times reported that “supercop” Cinquanta faced a number of professional controversies as a DPD officer and that he was at one point placed on unpaid leave for 17 entrapment counts that were later pled out. He started a private investigation firm after he left DPD, always hoping to catch the man who had shot him decades ago. 

According to the most recent reports, Archuleta is currently in state custody and is not eligible for parole until 2024.

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