DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona Beach police officer who was shot in the line of duty Wednesday night is showing “some improvement” following surgery but remains in critical condition as the manhunt for the suspected shooter continues, according to the police chief.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said Thursday morning that the 26-year-old police officer, Jason Raynor, was “still very much in critical condition.”
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Young said Raynor has been with the department for three years.
“Knowing him, if he were to pull through this, this cop would do everything in his power to get back on the job and continue serving the citizens of this community, and he would do so with zero hatred or malice in his heart,” Young said.
As of 6 a.m. Thursday, Young said Raynor was still fighting for his life.
News 6 was initially not showing any pictures of Raynor at his family’s request but we have since received permission from his sister to use one photo.
Young said the officer was “proactively patrolling” the area when he called in a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot behind a building off Kingston Avenue around 8:50 p.m. Authorities identified the suspected shooter as 29-year-old Othal Wallace, who has a criminal history both in South Florida and Central Florida.
Body camera video was released shortly after the incident showing the moments leading up to the shooting. Police said Raynor stopped responding to calls on his radio and other officers found him lying on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.
He underwent surgery and it was “fairly successful,” according to the police chief.
“This is a young kid, and I highlight that because most officers, you will see their wives or their kids respond to the hospital. It’s his mom in there. It’s his mom in there, so that tells you, that tells you where he’s at in his life,” Young said.
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Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said a $200,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of Wallace. He’s considered armed and dangerous and is believed to be driving a gray 2016 Honda HR-V bearing California license plate number 7TNX532, officials said.
Young said the department has some leads on the suspect, expanding the search, and the manhunt continues to be a multi-agency effort, now including U.S. marshals.
“I feel helpless knowing that my officer is behind me fighting for his life,” Young said. “I feel completely helpless. All we can do is pray for him, but the manhunt will continue for this suspect.”
Officer Raynor was an officer with the Port Orange Police Department from October 2016 to February 2019.
“Officer Raynor was an exemplary officer at our agency where he still maintains friendships with many of our current officers and staff,” Port Orange police said in a statement.
Police said Raynor received an award after he helped rescue a woman who was attempting to jump off of the Dunlawton Bridge.
“Officer Raynor’s on-the-job accolades are surpassed only by his jovial spirit and genuine concern for his brothers and sisters and the communities he serves,” Port Orange police said.
Anyone who sees Wallace should call 911 immediately. Anyone with information is asked to the department’s Emergency Operations Center at 386-671-5555.