NYSSA, Ore. — Nyssa Police Department Reserve Officer Joseph Johnson, 43, was shot and killed Saturday, April 15. The Malheur County District Attorney identified the suspect as Rene Castro, 36, and said Monday morning that he was arrested in Ontario.
According to a press release from the Malheur County District Attorney, Officer Johnson was dispatched on a call around 8:30 p.m., about a violent person damaging property and threatening people near a house in Nyssa. While Johnson was responding he learned that the suspect had fled the scene and was driving through the city.
Johnson followed the suspect and the driver pulled over at a house on Locust and 3rd St. in Nyssa. According to the release, Johnson pulled over and, "upon making the stop, an armed subject (believed to be Castro) began shooting at Officer Johnson. There was no time to return fire before Officer Johnson was fatally hit. Castro fled the scene immediately."
KTVB interviewed Dave Goldthorpe from the Malheur County District Attorney's office. He said police had previous run-ins with Castro. Goldthorpe also said that based on witness statements, the suspect just immediately began shooting when he got out of his vehicle. By the time emergency responders got to the scene, it was, unfortunately, too late.
Officer Johnson died in his car at the scene. Johnson also worked at the Oregon Department of Corrections. Castro has not been found and Oregon State Police are heading the investigation.
Goldthorpe said they are following up on several leads and the FBI is cooperating with the investigation. When announcing Castro's arrest Monday, he did not have any further updates.
Police are asking anyone with information to call Malheur County Dispatch at 541-473-5125.
People can also donate to The Fallen Badge Foundation to help Officer Johnson's family.
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