Hero Down: Kimberly Police Officer Nick O'Rear Murdered By Gunman During Pursuit

Holly Matkin

Kimberly Police Officer Nick O'Rear was fatally shot in the line of duty on Tuesday night.

Jefferson County, AL – Kimberly Police Department Officer Nick O’Rear died in the line of duty after being shot by a fleeing felon on Tuesday night.

The incident began just after 10 p.m., when a Warrior police officer attempted to stop a vehicle, The Birmingham News reported.

The driver refused to pull over and led the officer on a pursuit down Interstate 65 South.

The gunman opened fire near mile marker 281, shortly after the Kimberly police officer joined the chase.

One Warrior resident said she heard as many as 12 shots fired in rapid succession.

The suspects initially escaped from the scene after the Kimberly police officer was hit by their gunfire, The Birmingham News reported.

A large police escort rushed the wounded officer to UAB Hospital in critical condition.

A blue alert was issued for the suspected shooter, 37-year-old Preston Chyenne Johnson, who was believed to be driving a Black 2003 BMW 325i.

Sometime after shooting the Kimberly police officer, Johnson crashed the BMW and called someone to come get him, The Birmingham News reported.

That person arrived in a GMC pickup.

Johnson and three other suspects were apprehended in Dora near Highway 78 just after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, WBRC reported.

Police said that the gunman was carrying a large amount of cash on him when he was taken into custody.

The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation is handling the ongoing investigation into the shooting, The Birmingham News reported.

The events that led up to the Warrior police officer trying to pull Johnson over have not been released.

Johnson has been charged with capital murder, and is being held at the Jefferson County Jail without bond, WBRC reported on Wednesday morning.

He was previously convicted of drug possession in Morgan County in 2017 and served time in prison until July of 2018, according to The Birmingham News.

On Oct. 31, 2019, Cullman County deputies found him in possession of a stolen Corvette, as well as an AR-15, suboxone, 13 grams of methamphetamine, scales, and baggies.

Johnson was arrested on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, and receiving stolen property, WBRC reported.

“We’re very familiar with the suspect,” Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry told The North Jefferson News. “Over the years we’ve arrested him multiple times.

“Our investigators worked tirelessly back in November alongside law enforcement in Winston County to arrest this suspect, when they recovered a stolen vehicle and firearms, along with methamphetamine,” Sheriff Gentry added.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said she has spoken with Officer O’Rear’s parents to personally offer her condolences for their loss.

“I am profoundly grieved to hear of the passing of the Kimberly police officer who was shot in the line of duty last night,” Gov. Ivey said in a statement. “The safety of our citizens and the rule of law is forefront on the minds of our officers who willingly risk their lives on behalf of ours. His sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Kimberly Mayor Bob Ellerbrock said that Officer O’Rear had been with the KPD for one year or less, and that his death was the first line-of-duty death in the history of the department, The Birmingham News reported.

“Everybody loved him,” Ellerbrock told the paper. “He was a tremendous asset to our community.”

Officer O’Rear is a father of two, with another baby on the way, the mayor said during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

He also leaves behind his parents and sister.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Kimberly Police Department Officer Nick O’Rear, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Officer Nick O’Rear, your life mattered.

Comments (29)
No. 1-14
Quasar704
Quasar704

@Excalibr4 only if the shooter was black, then he would’ve know to be more alert right?

burgerallday
burgerallday

@Quasar704 So you've anointed yourself the new dickhead for this website? You obviously haven't figured out yet that this shit happens in micro seconds. The color of the skin is immaterial when bullets are flying. When they get arrested later, without lead flying, they get treated differently. It's such a simple concept, but a small percentage of the 13.4% just can't figure that out.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

#thoughtsandprayers

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

As soon they read the guilty verdict, take this POS out back and put 2 in his head!! I sure hope he hasn't reproduced!!

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

RIP Officer O'Rear! Prayers to your family and friends. 💙🙏👨‍✈️😢

HelenEHendrickson
HelenEHendrickson

Praying for his family both blood and blue.

TrueAmerican
TrueAmerican

RIP Officer O'Rear. My deepest condolences go out to your wife, children, parents and fellow Officer's. This is so heartbreaking. You will never be forgotten 🙏🏼💙🖤💙🖤🇺🇸

DarrellB
DarrellB

Check out some of the local coverage on this tragic loss. The comments are really supportive.

bc2573
bc2573

I have been friends with Nicks father for over 25 years, and I've been around Nick since he was a little guy. He was like a son to me during his teenage years. His dad and I hunted together and in turn I got to watch Nick grow up stomping around in the woods with us.

All Nick has ever wanted to do was serve and protect people. Nick never had a negative thing to say about anyone that I ever heard and he was one of the good guys. The man died a hero, and I know his dad is very proud of him. His life ended way too soon.

Yesterday was one of the saddest days of my life.

Stanracer
Stanracer

By the sounds of it this asshole scumbag should never have been let of jail in the first place.

Sogwa
Sogwa

I LOVE dogs and animals
God bless this precious sole and may she run, jump, rest, and play in peace over the rainbow bridge!!

And drop the pos shooter off in the middle of a firing rage for proper justice and target practice!!

Sogwa
Sogwa

So the dog is alive and it was the officer who handled the dog who got shot and died?! 😧😦
I guess I should actually READ the post and not just respond to the pic of a dog. 🙄
I didn’t bother to read the entire page, I simply responded when I saw the adorable German Shepard and immediately thought the dog was shot. I just posted to another dog that was laid to rest so my mind was thinking on that.

Hopefully the dog’s ok. I don't know the cop, but God bless his soul none the less and may he RIP.

Schick56
Schick56

🙏🙏🙏

bc2573
bc2573

Just an update and I guess a little finalty to this story. Officer O'Rear's funeral was held yesterday and it was a fine send off to a fine man and police officer. There was a police presence from all over the nation which to me gave a new meaning to the term brotherhood. After the service we made the 25 mile trek to the gravesite, and I was floored by what I saw. There were men, women and children of all races and creeds lined up on the funeral route waving American Flags and saluting this officer whom they have never met. Thousands if not tens of thousands of people lines up on the side of the road, unfurling flags off of overpasses, on the roofs of building..... all in the pouring rain in Feb. It was really an emotional ride to the graveyard, but it made me proud to be friends with such a great hero who touched so many peoples lives and brought so many people together. RIP brother... I love you.


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