PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Nyssa, Oregon police officer was shot and killed Saturday night while attempting to stop a suspect and the suspect is still on the run, according to the Malheur County district attorney’s office and Oregon State Police.
Around 8:20 p.m., Nyssa Police Reserve Officer Joseph Johnson was dispatched to a call about a violent individual causing damage to property and threatening others in a home, officials said.
Johnson, 43, learned that the suspect, Rene Castro, left the scene in a vehicle, so a pursuit began, authorities said.
When the suspect’s vehicle began stopping at a residence and Johnson attempted to make contact, police said an armed person, believed to be Castro, opened fire, killing Johnson before he could return fire. The suspect then fled the scene.
Johnson died at the scene before EMTs and deputies from the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office could arrive.
The search for Castro is still underway and police are asking anyone with information about his whereabouts to call 541.473.5125.
Malheur County district attorney’s office says the investigation is being led by Oregon State Police and assisted by other local, county and federal authorities.
Gov. Kotek statement
In a statement Sunday night, Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek said:
“This is an absolute tragedy. I extend my sincere condolences to Officer Johnson’s family, friends, and the public safety community who knew him well. Officer Johnson’s service and dedication to his community and our state will not be forgotten.”
The governor ordered flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff until sunset April 17 to honor Johnson, who is survived by his wife and 2 children.