Prosecutors: chase started over expired tag, Officer O’Rear was called in for backup

Prosecutors: chase started over expired tag, Officer O’Rear was called in for backup
Officer Nick O'Rear killed in the line of duty (Source: City of Ashville)

KIMBERLY, Ala. (WBRC) - Preston Cheyenne Johnson, 37, accused of shooting and killing Kimberly Police Officer Nick O’Rear had his first appearance in court Thursday.

Prosecutors read the facts of the case in Judge William Bell’s courtroom.

Prosecutors say a chase on I-65 in north Jefferson County was initiated when officers noticed Johnson had an expired tag. The officers called for backup and Kimberly hero O’Rear responded.

Court records show Johnson shot out of his car and killed O’Rear.

Preston Johnson, in an October 21st, 2019 mugshot from Cullman County
Preston Johnson, in an October 21st, 2019 mugshot from Cullman County (Source: Cullman County Sheriff's Dept.)

Warrior police say Johnson and three other people were taken into custody near Highway 78 in Dora after 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Johnson is being held on no bond.

Officer O’Rear’s funeral will be Monday at Gardendale First Baptist Church at 1 p.m. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until noon. Following the service, Officer O’Rear will be buried at Jefferson Memorial Gardens in Trussville.

Governor Kay Ivey has directed flags be flown at half-staff on Monday until sunset.

Kimberly Mayor Bob Ellerbrock said O’Rear is the father of two with another child on the way.

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