From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — A Kimberly police officer who lost his life early Wednesday morning following a Tuesday night shooting on Interstate 65 has been identified.
Nick O’Rear, was a father of two, with one child on the way. O’Rear had been with the Kimberly Police Department for approximately one year.
The Kimberly Police Department held a press conference Wednesday at 1 p.m. The family of O’Rear was in attendance at the press conference
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall sent condolences Wednesday morning.
“I am saddened to bring this update: Another officer has lost his life in the line of duty,” Marshall posted on Twitter. “The Kimberly Police Department will release more information at 1 p.m. Please pray for his family — including a son and a daughter — and his fellow officers.”
The alleged shooter, Preston Chyenne Johnson, 37, is now charged with capital murder of a police officer. He and three others were taken into custody in Dora following a multi-agency manhunt.
The arrest stems from an incident that began at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday in the southbound lane of I-65 in Warrior. Reports indicate that Warrior police attempted to pull over a vehicle, which did not stop. An officer from the Kimberly Police Department joined the chase. The officer proceeded to pull in front of the suspect’s vehicle, which opened fire into the police cruiser.
The officer was struck and crashed his vehicle shortly thereafter. He was escorted to UAB Hospital by Warrior firefighters along with a large contingent of police officers.
“I am profoundly grieved to hear of the passing of the Kimberly Police Officer who was shot in the line of duty last night,” Alabama Gov. Kay 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.”
Part of the southbound lane of I-65 in Warrior was shut down for the investigation. The scene was near exit 281.
Local agencies were alerted to be on the lookout for the vehicle police believed to have been involved in a chase and shooting. Police were searching for a black 2003 BMW 325i with Alabama tag number 2495AS2. The car has a missing bumper.
According to AL.com, Johnson crashed his BMW following the shooting and attempted to seek assistance. He was picked up in a GMC truck, which was located and stopped on U.S. 78.
The shooting happened just hours after Ivey honored law enforcement lives taken over the past year during her State of the State address.
“These heroes exhibited the best virtues of our state – they were selfless, brave, dedicated and, in the end, willing to sacrifice their lives for all of us,” Ivey said.
Law enforcement agencies were sending prayers on social media late Tuesday night.
The State Bureau of Investigation has taken over the investigation.