Man arrested in killing of Oregon police officer

The man accused of shooting and killing a police officer in Eastern Oregon over the weekend has been caught.
Published: Apr. 16, 2023 at 12:04 PM PDT
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NYSSA, Ore. (KPTV) - The man accused of shooting and killing a police officer in Eastern Oregon over the weekend has been caught.

Oregon State Police say 36-year-old Rene Castro was arrested at a home in Ontario, Oregon, on Monday.

The Oregon State Police SWAT team, along with members of the FBI, Ontario Police Department, Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, and other agencies, surrounded the home at about 6:40 a.m. and began calling people to leave the home. Castro exited the home at about 7:40 a.m. and was taken into custody.

OSP said Castro nor SWAT personnel were injured during his arrest Monday morning.

Castro is accused of shooting and killing Nyssa Police Officer Joseph Johnson.

According to the Malheur County District Attorney, on Saturday, at about 8:20 p.m., Officer Johnson responded to a suspect, identified as Castro, damaging property and threatening others near a home. When Castro left in a vehicle, Officer Johnson began a chase around the city. At one point, Castro stopped his vehicle and began shooting. Officer Johnson, 43, had no time to return fire and was killed.

Rene Castro
Rene Castro(Malheur County District Attorney's Office)

Law enforcement agencies searched for Castro throughout the weekend.

“We want to thank the team of investigators who have been working tirelessly for the past 36 hours to locate and arrest Castro. While the arrest has been made, the investigators are still processing evidence and continuing their work,” OSP said in a release.

The investigation is ongoing, and no other details are being released at this time.

On Sunday, Governor Tina Kotek ordered flags be flown at half-staff in Johnson’s memory until sunset Monday.

“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,” Kotek said. “Officer Johnson’s service and dedication to his community and our state will not be forgotten.”

In the news release, the district attorney’s office said, “The appreciation, love, and concern of all citizens of Malheur County go out to the family of Officer Johnson.”

Donations are being accepted for Johnson’s family through the Fallen Badge Foundation.