In the community

Police arrest suspect in Ontario in fatal shooting of Nyssa officer

The suspect in the shooting death of a Nyssa Police Department reserve officer was arrested in Ontario on Monday, April 17.

The arrest of Rene Castro, 36, of Nyssa, occurred just before 8 a.m. north of downtown Ontario in the 600 block of Northwest First Street. The arrest involved officers from several agencies and no injuries were reported for either Castro or arresting officers, according to a statement from Dave Goldthorpe, Malheur County district attorney.

“The Oregon State Police SWAT team, along with members of the FBI, Ontario Police Department, Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, and other agencies, surrounded a residence in Ontario at approximately 6:40 a.m. and began calling occupants from the home,” Goldthorpe said. “At approximately 7:40 a.m. Rene Castro exited a structure and was taken into custody by OSP SWAT personnel.” 

He has been sought since Joseph Johnson, a reserve officer since 2018, was shot to death in Nyssa on Saturday, April 15. Johnson had pursued a vehicle after callers reported a man damaging property and making threats.

The shooting happened outside the home of Castro’s girlfriend. Johnson was shot about 8:30 p.m. Saturday before he could defend himself, according to Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe. The shooting occurred at a home in north Nyssa.

Lt. Mark Duncan of the Oregon State Police gives a thumbs up to Ontario Police Chief Mike Iwai on Northwest First Street on Monday, April 17, after the state police SWAT team arrested Rene Castro near downtown Ontario. Castro is accused of killing Joseph Johnson, a Nyssa Police Department reserve officer, on Saturday, April 17. (PAT CALDWELL/The Enterprise)

This is a developing story.