Thursday, Kimberly Police Department K9 Officer Nick O’Rear, age 33, has died from his wounds. O’Rear was shot and killed during a vehicle pursuit.
“I am profoundly grieved to hear of the passing of the Kimberly Police Officer who was shot in the line of duty last night. 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.”
“I have just spoken with the fallen Kimberly Police officer’s family and offered them my deepest sympathies for their tragic loss. See my full statement below. #ThinBlueLine #alpolitics” Ivey said on Twitter.
Governor has called and spoken with the parents of Officer O’Rear to offer her deepest condolences for them during this difficult time.
“Kimberly PD Officer Nick O’Rear’s end of watch has come too soon,” U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fellow officers. This tragedy is yet another heartbreaking reminder of the dangers all law enforcement face while we enjoy the safety they provide us. We must ask ourselves how we can all join together to bridge the respect deficit for law enforcement that is directly and indirectly leading to violence against our brave men and women of the badge. Enough is enough.”
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) said, “We have lost yet another hero: Officer Nick O’Rear of the Kimberly PD, who was assisting in a vehicular pursuit when he was ambushed by the car’s driver. Officer O’Rear was the father of two children, with another on the way. Pray for his family and fellow officers. #ThinBlueLine”
The group Guardians of the Thin Blue Line said, “Rest In Peace Kimberly Police Department K9 Officer Nick O’Rear, age 33, who was shot and killed during a vehicle pursuit. End Of Watch: February 04, 2020 (first of two shot and killed to be posted today) Please, we ask, #SayHisName – Officer/Brother Nick O’Rear – not just “RIP” or a run of ridiculous emojis. When you SAY HIS NAME, you will REMEMBER HIS NAME and A HERO REMEMBERED … NEVER DIES.”
Around 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Warrior Police Officers attempted to stop a vehicle on Interstate 65 South near exit 281 in northern Jefferson County. The driver chose to flee. During the pursuit, O’rear joined in the chase. Officer O’Rear got in front of the suspect’s vehicle and that’s when someone from inside the fleeing vehicle began shooting at the Police vehicles.
Officer O’Rear was struck by gunfire while driving and crashed his cruiser a short distance away. He was rushed to UAB Hospital by Warrior firefighters in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. The suspects continued to flee. Around 1:00 a.m., four people were apprehended near Highway 78 in Dora and taken into custody just moments after a Blue Alert was issued for the vehicle and suspect. On Wednesday, Police Officer Nick O’Rear succumbed to his gunshot wound and was pronounced at the hospital.
Nick is survived by his expectant beloved, a son, a daughter, his K9 partner Stella, and his parents.
He had been with the Kimberly PD for one year.
“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the families, both of blood and of Blue, to the hospital staff, to all who came running to assist and to the residents of Kimberly. -from all of us at True Blue Warriors,” Guardian of the Thin Blue Line said.
This is the first Line Of Duty death the Kimberly Police Department has ever had in their history.
“All he wanted to do was be a police officer,” Ashville Police Chief Ed Hampton told ABC 33/40.
Nick O’Rear is a native of St. Clair County and after graduating from the police academy in July 2018 he began his police career with the Ashville Police Department. After a year he moved to the Kimberly Police Department.
“His heart was into being a police officer 100 percent,” Chief Ed Hampton said. “All he wanted to do was be a police officer.”
Chief Hampton added that O’Rear was a good father and a great officer who was eager to learn, adding that they were sad to lose him when he made the switch to Kimberly. Hampton said that he was “devastated” by the news that O’Rear had been killed.
The suspected cop killer, Preston Johnson age 37, has been charged with capital murder of a Police Officer. This carries the possibility of the death penalty.
Seven law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in Alabama in 2019.
(Original reporting by ABC 33/40 TV’s Alexander Derencz contributed to this report.)