Alabama officer fatally shot during interstate pursuit identified as Nick O’Rear

Local News
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

WARRIOR, Ala. (WIAT) — The latest on the shooting death of a Kimberly, Alabama police officer (all times local):

3:15 p.m. (2/6)

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family of Kimberly Police Officer Nick O’Rear who was killed in the line of duty Tuesday night.

The page says it will help O’Rear’s girlfriend, Brittany, and their unborn child, Weston. So far, the fund has raised well over the goal of $5,000 within the first couple of hours of being up.

If you’d like to donate and help the O’Rear family, click here.

9:23 p.m. (2/5)

The Kimberly Fire Department has announced they will start selling T-shirts to honor Kimberly PD officer Nick O’Rear after he was killed in the line of duty.

All of the proceeds from selling the shirts will be given to O’Rear’s family.

To buy a shirt, click here. Shipping will begin soon or you can pick it up at Kimberly FD.

6:13 p.m.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall spoke exclusively with CBS 42’s Jack Royer to talk about Ofc. Nick O’Rear and what the state can do to keep officers safe.

Along with Steve Marshall, the Birmingham Fraternal Order of Police President, Richard Haluska stated we need to take a better look at the criminals we release on bond. “One of the biggest things we’ve got to change is the punishment has got to fit the crime. The sentences, the jail sentences are too lax, the bonds are too low.”

Haluska said we need to hold criminals accountable so that our law enforcement officers can continue to do their job. “We’re out here fighting for the lives of our citizens of our towns and communities, and we wind up having to fight for our own lives, to be able to make it home safe to our families.”

4:30 p.m.

The outpouring of support from across Alabama have been coming in the wake of Kimberly police officer Nick O’Rear’s death.

3:45 p.m.

The handcuffs that were used to arrest Preston Cheyenne Johnson have been retired by the Walker County Sheriff’s Office.

In a Facebook post on the WCSO sent out Wednesday, Sheriff Smith announced that the handcuffs used on Johnson would be retired since they were used on a suspect who allegedly shot and killed Kimberly police officer Nick O’Rear.

The retirement of the handcuffs was done with the blessing of Kimberly Police Chief Ricky Pridmore.

2:03 p.m.

The man accused of fatally shooting Kimberly Police Officer Nick O’Rear will face additional charges, according to a release from Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr. Preston Cheyenne Johnson was charged earlier Wednesday with capital murder of a law enforcement officer. He is also facing the following charges involving Officer O’Rear’s death: capital murder while shooting into a vehicle and capital murder while shooting from a vehicle. Johnson will also be charged with attempted murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle involving another police officer. He is being held on no bond for all five charges.

“We are grateful to the men and women of the Kimberly Police Department, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and the surrounding agencies for their work on this case under very difficult circumstances,” Carr wrote in a press release.

In his press release Carr says his office will refrain from commenting further on the case as it is pending criminal prosecution.

1:04 p.m.

Alabama officer fatally shot during interstate pursuit identified as Nick O’Rear

The Kimberly Police officer fatally shot during an early Wednesday morning interstate pursuit has been identified as Nick O’Rear. According to authorities, O’Rear was a father of two, with one on the way. He had served on the force for a year at the time of his death.

His mother, father, wife, and other family members were present during the press conference. No funeral arrangements have been announced.

No questions were taken during the press conference. The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) will preside over the investigation.

WATCH: SBI, Kimberly Police Officer shooting press conference

11:31 a.m.

The man charged with shooting and killing a Kimberly police officer was out on bond at the time of his arrest.

Preston Cheyenne Johnson, 37, was previously arrested in October 2019 in Cullman County and charged with first-degree receiving stolen property, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, possession with the intent to distribute and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to a post from the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at the time of his arrest, a report had been filed about a stolen C5 Corvette and how the vehicle could have been in Cullman County.

“During the course of the investigation it was determined that the suspect above, Mr. Johnson, was in possession of the stolen vehicle,” the post stated.

On Oct. 31, deputies found Johnson in possession of the car, as well as 13 grams of methamphetamine, needles, drug paraphernalia and an AR-15 rifle, which he was not allowed to have due to his status as a convicted felon.

Preston Cheyenne Johnson (Jefferson County Jail)

Leading up to his October arrest, Johnson had had several run-ins with the law. He previously pleaded guilty to two different first-degree theft cases in 2015 and 2009 respectively, as well as a guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance in 2015. His earliest criminal offense was in 2000 for giving a false name to law enforcement, for which he pleaded guilty.

According to court documents, Johnson was released from jail on Nov. 5 after property was put up as bond, which had been set at $40,000. Following Johnson’s arrest Wednesday morning, a motion was filed by Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Roberts to revoke his bond.

It is unclear why Johnson was granted bond back in November, given his criminal history.

8:43 a.m.

CBS 42 is on the scene at Kimberly City Hall where local authorities addressed the press about the overnight officer-involved shooting. At the brief meeting, authorities state there will be an official press conference at 1 p.m. CST.

Tune in to CBS 42 here and on social media to watch.

U.S. Attorney Jay Town released the following tweet stating that the injured officer has passed:

6:30 a.m.

According to booking records of the Jefferson County Jail, suspect Preston Cheyenne Johnson was booked Wednesday at 5:39 a.m. and charged with “capital murder of a police officer.”

Although this is the current charge for the suspect, authorities have not confirmed the officer’s death.

We are working to gather more information. Check back for updates.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tweeted the following message in support of the Kimberly community:


JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. — The Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police (AACOP) has confirmed to CBS 42 that a Kimberly police officer was shot Tuesday night.

The officer, critically injured, was transported to UAB hospital for treatment.

A Blue Alert was issued in the state as authorities searched for a black 2003 BMW 325 ISA with Alabama tags “2495AS2.” Preston Cheyenne Johnson, 37, and three other suspects were captured near Hwy 78 in Dora, according to the Warrior Police Department.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall confirmed in a tweet early Wednesday morning that the officer was injured during a pursuit on I-65.

Johnson had recently been arrested for being in possession of a stolen car that also contained drugs and drug paraphernalia, according to the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested October 31, 2019 and charged with first-degree stolen property, possession with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Johnson was also in possession of 13 grams of meth and an AR-15 at the time of his arrest. As a convicted felon, Johnson is prohibited from possessing a firearm. He was scheduled to appear in court March 2, according to court documents.

Stay with CBS 42 for updates on this breaking news story.


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