KIMBERLY—The victim of an overnight shooting on Interstate 65 has been identified.

Kimberly police officer Nick O’Rear was taken to UAB after sustaining a gunshot wound during a car chase on Tuesday night, and later died from that injury.

The city of Kimberly held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at its fire department. 

"Our officer was involved in a chase and was helping out a neighboring community [Warrior], at which point he was ambushed by the driver of the car they were trying to stop," said Mayor Bob Ellerbrock. 

O’Rear, 31, was a father of two with a third on the way. According to Ellerbrock, O’Rear had been working for the Kimberly Police Department approximately one year. 

"This is a sad, sad loss of life," said Ellerbrock. "This affects not only his family, but this entire community, especially the police departments of Warrior, Kimberly, Morris and the fire departments because it’s a very close-knit community.”

Preston Cheyenne Johnson, of Addison, has been arrested and charged with a single count of capital murder of a police officer. On Tuesday night, the 37-year-old was apprehended on Highway 78 outside of Jasper by Jefferson County deputies and local police.

According to police, Johnson crashed the BWM he was driving during the shooting and was picked up by friends in a second vehicle. That was the vehicle officers detained him in on Highway 78. 

Funeral arrangements will be posted when that information becomes available. 

Erik Harris is the sports editor for The North Jefferson News. He can be reached at

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