Nyssa, Ore. — The community of Nyssa is in mourning after the loss of one of their own. On the evening of April 15th, Reserve Officer Joseph Johnson, 43, responded to a call of concern regarding a violent individual who was damaging property and threatening others in the area. While pursuing the suspect, Rene Castro, in a vehicle, Officer Johnson was fatally shot by an armed subject believed to be Castro.

The incident occurred when the vehicle stopped at the corner of Locust and 3rd Street N. Officer Johnson was unable to return fire before being fatally hit. Despite the efforts of EMTs and the Malheur County Sheriff’s department, Officer Johnson succumbed to his injuries.

Authorities are continuing their search for Rene Castro, 36, of Nyssa. Anyone with information regarding his possible location is urged to contact Malheur County Dispatch at 541-473-5125.

Governor Tina Kotek issued a statement expressing her condolences to Officer Johnson’s family, friends, and the public safety community. “Officer Johnson’s service and dedication to his community and our state will not be forgotten,” said Governor Kotek.

Officer Johnson was also an Oregon Department of Corrections employee, assigned to Snake River Correctional Institution. The Fallen Badge Foundation is accepting donations on behalf of the family. Flags at Oregon public institutions will be flown at half-staff until sunset April 17th in honor and remembrance of Officer Johnson’s sacrifice.

The Oregon State Police are leading the investigation, with assistance from the Malheur County Sheriff, Ontario Police, and various police agencies from Idaho to La Grande, including federal authorities.

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