DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A 26-year-old Daytona Beach police officer who was shot in the head during an encounter Wednesday night has been identified.
Chief Jakari Young released officer Jason Raynor’s name during a news conference Thursday evening. Previously, Raynor’s name had been withheld out of respect for his family.
He does not have a wife or children but his mother has been by his side at the hospital.
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.
Records show Raynor was patrolling on Kingston Avenue in Daytona Beach at about 8:50 p.m. when he approached 29-year-old Othal Wallace, who was sitting in a gray Honda HR-V.
The situation escalated when Wallace stood up and refused to get back in the vehicle as Raynor repeatedly asked him to sit down, according to the body camera video.
The footage then shows a scuffle between the two men before a single gunshot is heard. The video ends with Raynor lying on the ground.
Young said witnesses at a nearby apartment complex saw Raynor injured and rendered aid. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood also said one of those witnesses helped identify Wallace.
Raynor was rushed to Halifax Health and has since undergone surgery. He remains in critical condition.
“He has a heart of gold. He’s not perfect, just because none of us are perfect. But I can tell you if he pulls through this, this cop would do everything in his power to return to full duty and he will continue serving this community without an ounce of malice or hate in his heart for what happened to him, because that’s just the type of person that he is,” Young said.
He asked for continued prayers as Raynor fights for his life.
“I‘m still heartbroken. I’m hopeful and I’m keeping the faith that he’s going to pull through. But this was a senseless tragedy... (Wallace is) heartless. I mean, his heart is pure malice. He could care less. He did that with zero remorse. Zero remorse, you can tell,” Young said.
Raynor has worked in Daytona Beach for three years and prior to that, he worked at the Port Orange Police Department from October 2016 to February 2019.
“During his tenure, Officer Raynor was an exemplary officer at our agency where he still maintains friendships with many of our current officers and staff. While employed with The Port Orange Police Department, Officer Raynor received an award of achievement on December 5, 2018 where he and two other officers were able to successfully rescue a female 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,” a Port Orange public information officer wrote in a statement.
Records show Wallace fled the scene after the shooting and so far, he hasn’t been located.
Young on Thursday wouldn’t provide information about any potential leads but said he’s optimistic that an arrest will be made.
“I can tell you that we got a lot of resources out there and I’m hopeful, I will tell you that much,” Young said.
A $200,00 reward is being offered for information that leads to Wallace’s arrest. Officials said he could be in a gray 2016 Honda HR-V bearing California license plate number 7TNX532.
Anyone with information is asked to call the department’s emergency operations center at 386-671-5555.