On Monday, April 17, 2023, investigators, with the use of law enforcement resources, located Rene Castro (36) at a residence in Ontario, Malheur County, Oregon.  The Oregon State Police SWAT team, along with members of the FBI, Ontario Police Department, Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, and other agencies, surrounded a residence in Ontario at approximately 6:40 A.M. and began calling occupants from the home.  At approximately 7:40 A.M., Rene Castro exited a structure and was taken into custody by OSP SWAT personnel.  Neither Castro nor SWAT personnel were injured during his arrest.

We want to thank the team of investigators who have been working tirelessly for the past 36 hours to locate and arrest Castro.  While the arrest has been made, the investigators are still processing evidence and continuing their work.

The next press release is anticipated to be at 6:30 P.M. (Mountain).  At that time, we may be able to provide more information regarding the ongoing investigation.


On April 15, 2023, at approximately 8:20pm, Nyssa Police Department Reserve Officer Joseph Johnson (43) was dispatched to a call of concern regarding a violent individual damaging property and threatening others near a residence in Nyssa. In the process of responding, Officer Johnson learned the suspect (Rene Castro) had fled in a vehicle and began a pursuit through the city. When it appeared, the vehicle was stopping at the residence at the corner of Locust and 3rd Street N., Officer Johnson pulled off the road as well. Immediately upon making the stop, an armed subject (believed to be Castro) began shooting at Officer Johnson. There was no time to return fire before Officer Johnson was fatally hit. Castro fled the scene immediately. EMTs were on the scene in record time, with the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department right behind, but Officer Johnson was already deceased. An Oregon State Trooper arrived soon after and assisted the Sheriff’s Deputy in setting up a perimeter and questioning possible witnesses. The Oregon State Police are heading the investigation, with help from the Malheur County Sheriff, Ontario Police, and pretty much every police agency from various departments in Idaho all the way to La Grande, including Federal authorities.

All available authorities continue to search for Rene Castro (36) of Nyssa. If anyone has any information about his possible location, please call Malheur County Dispatch at 541-473-5125.

The appreciation, love, and concern of all citizens of Malheur County go out to the family of Officer Johnson. The Fallen Badge Foundation is accepting donations on behalf of the family.

I plan to release another update by 8pm mountain time.

David M. Goldthorpe

Malheur County District Attorney