By Austin De Dios
NYSSA, Ore. – A police officer was shot and killed Saturday night in the eastern Oregon town of Nyssa, and police are searching for the suspect Sunday.
Officer Joseph Johnson, 43, died after responding to reports of a violent person damaging property and threatening people, the Malheur County District Attorney’s office wrote in a statement Sunday.
Johnson responded to the call around 8:20 p.m. and heard the suspect had left in a car. Johnson pursued the man and eventually both cars stopped at the corner of Locust Avenue and North 3rd Street.
As soon as Johnson stopped, the man, identified as 36-year-old Nyssa resident Rene Castro, began shooting at him, the statement from the DA’s office said. The perpetrator then fled the scene.
Emergency medical personnel and the Malheur sheriff’s office responded, but Johnson was dead when they arrived, the DA’s office said.
Oregon State Police troopers are leading the investigation.
“The appreciation, love and concern of all the citizens of Malheur County go out to Officer Johnson’s family,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “The Fallen Badge Foundation is accepting donations on behalf of the family.”
Nyssa has a population of just under 3,200 people, according to census data. It is about 81 miles from Boise, Idaho.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about Castro’s location to call Malheur County Dispatch at 541-473-5125.
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