Neighbors speak out about postal worker shot on-duty in Mason Valley

Lyon County Sheriff's Office reports that they are investigating a homicide in Mason Valley on March 22, 2016.

UPDATE: 6;26 p.m. 3/25

(AP) -- Sheriff's deputies investigating the shooting death of a U.S. Postal Service worker in rural Nevada say they don't consider her husband a suspect in what he originally reported was an accident.

Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil has released few details about Tuesday's death of 26-year-old Johnie Nichole Shadden at her home in Mason Valley, which is on her mail delivery route about 75 miles southeast of Reno.

Sheriff's spokesman Michael Carlson said Friday investigators have questioned her husband, but that no charges have been filed. He said in an email to The Associated Press the husband -- whose name has not been released -- "is not a suspect."

Carlson said a gun and other evidence recovered at the scene is undergoing forensic analysis but that no other information is expected to be released until that review is complete.


UPDATE: 8:20 p.m. 3/24

( & KRNV) -- Johnie Shadden's death was the talk of the small town of Yerington on Thursday, just two days after deputies found her dead at her own home on Stanley Lane.

"Very surprised, especially with Johnie, I mean, who would figure? Johnie was a loving and nice girl." Yerington resident Larry Holland said shooting deaths don't often happen in his hometown.

He said it was a normal Tuesday for the 26-year-old postal worker. She always dropped off her own mail during her delivery route.

The Lyon County dispatch center received the 9-1-1 call just before 11:30 a.m. from Shadden's husband, who neighbors identified as Dustin. He claimed the shooting was an accident. Deputies pronounced Johnie dead when they arrived on scene.

Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil would not explain why Dustin called the shooting an accident. The sheriff's office is investigating alongside the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service. McNeil said they are treating Johnie Shadden's death as a homicide; but he said the sheriff's office always treats deaths as homicides at the start of an investigation per protocol.

McNeil told News 4 that investigators are not considering anyone a suspect and they do not have anyone in custody. The sheriff said investigators questioned Johnie's husband about the shooting, but they never arrested him.

"We have not ruled anything either way. The FBI lab will be doing some tests on the firearm and some other stuff that the forensics has to do. Once we get the forensics back, we'll determine where this case will go at that point in time."

Amidst the small-town gossip spreading about Johnie's death, several community members told News 4 that Shadden was shot in the back. The sheriff said he could not release the location(s) of Shadden's gunshot wound(s) because the investigation is ongoing.

Her husband, Dustin Cooper owned a gun store in Yerington, but community members said his business closed within the past year. The sheriff said investigators collected several firearms from the couple's home. "There were numerous firearms we took out of the residence per our normal procedure. I wouldn't get into the detail of the number of firearms. Whether we have all of his firearms, again that would be pure speculation on our part." McNeil would not say what kind of gun killed Johnie Shadden.

Neighbors said Dustin's gun store was having problems with theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They said permitting issues forced him to close his gun store.

Sheriff McNeil said he doesn't believe the gun store was under investigation. He said Dustin is currently trying to relocate his business -- a move pending approval from the Lyon County Board of Commissioners. McNeil said the board is expected to discuss that issue during their meeting next week.

Yerington residents also told News 4 they knew of several lawsuits against Dustin Cooper in relation to his gun business. They said people in the community did not get their firearms back after dropping them for repairs or making deposits. The sheriff would not comment on any lawsuits. News 4 has not been able to confirm those allegations.

Neighbors and friends all described Johnie Shadden as a good person. They said she was the last person they would expect to be shot to death. Larry Holland said, "she was fun-loving and she loved her kids. They just had a baby about a year ago." The couple had two children together -- a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old. Neighbors said the older child was enrolled in preschool, and likely would not have been home at the time of the shooting.

Sheriff McNeil said the children were in the custody of family members following their mother's shooting. He said the Lyon County Division of Child & Family Services(CFS) held a meeting on Wednesday to determine who would take the children. McNeil said it's protocol to notify CFS whenever there's a death in a child's immediate family. The results of Wednesday's meeting are unclear at this time.

Stanley Lane was blocked off by caution tape through Wednesday, but when a News 4 crew arrived at the couple's home on Thursday morning, the tape had been removed. Sheriff McNeil said Johnie's husband is allowed back inside the house.


UPDATE: 4:28 p.m. 3/23

(AP) -- A sheriff's official says a U.S. Postal Service delivery worker who was killed on the job in northern Nevada was delivering mail to her own home, and her husband first reported her shooting death as an accident.

Lyon County sheriff's spokesman Michael Carlson said Wednesday that 26-year-old Johnie Nicole Shadden's husband was questioned but not arrested after Shadden was pronounced dead outside the house about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday near Yerington.

Carlson says a gun was recovered at the scene. The husband's name wasn't immediately released.

Shadden's home was on her normal delivery route in rural Mason Valley, and Carlson says she also used it as a rest stop.


The Lyon County Sheriff's Office reports that 26-year-old Johnie Shadden succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained around 11:30 a.m. on March 22, 2016 in Mason Valley.

According to officials, Ms. Shadden was on-duty as a postal worker and had stopped at her home as part of her normal route at the time of the incident.

The death investigation is being jointly conducted by LCSO, US Postal Service, and the FBI.

Sheriff Al McNeil assured citizens that this is as isolated incident and there is no threat to the community.

Anyone who may have witnessed this crime is asked to call LCSO Dispatch Center at 775-463-6620 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.


Officials say Lyon County Sheriff's Office is investigating a woman who was found deceased Tuesday, March 22 in Mason Valley, just east of Yerington.

According to the Sheriff's Office, they are investigating it as a homicide.

Her name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

This is a developing situation so they have no further information at this time. We are working to learn more.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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