DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A 26-year-old Daytona Beach police officer remains in critical condition Thursday after he was shot in the head, and federal agents have joined the manhunt for the suspected shooter, authorities said.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said the officer, Jason Raynor, “has experienced some improvement but still has a long way to go.”
The officer was shot Wednesday night in the 100 block of Kingston Avenue in Daytona Beach, south of Mason Avenue and west of North Beach Street, while patrolling the area, Young said, who identified the suspect as 29-year-old Othal Wallace.
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 noticed a suspicious vehicle near an apartment building and investigated the situation.
“When (Raynor) confronted the suspect, the suspect got out of the car and shot him in the head and drove off,” Young said. “That’s his area of responsibility, so he was proactively patrolling.”
Body camera video (see below) released by police shows the confrontation between the officer and Wallace.
Young said Wallace’s family lives in one of the apartments, but it’s not known if it’s Wallace’s primary residence.
A search warrant was served on the apartment, and Young said investigators recovered at least three ballistic vests, multiple high-capacity magazines, a rifle and a semi-automatic handgun and numerous boxes of rifle rounds.
Young said the search area for Wallace has expanded, and U.S. Marshals are now involved in the manhunt.
OFFICER IN CRITICAL CONDITION: A Daytona Beach Police officer who was shot in the head last night is out of surgery & is in critical condition.— Ezzy Castro (@EzzyCastro) June 24, 2021
Agencies from all over Central Florida are showing their support this morning.
We’ll have a live report at 5 am @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/5tox9ffOWi
“We do have a few leads in reference to the suspect,” he said. “Obviously, I’m not going to get into those leads at this time.”
Volusia County was locked down for about three hours after the shooting.
“This entire county is on lockdown until we track this coward down. I’m grateful for every agency that’s responded over here to help us as they’re committed to staying out here until we get this coward in custody,” Young said earlier.
This is the area behind the apartment building where the officer was shot last night. Police say they recovered firearms and several rounds of ammunition inside the unit where the suspect’s family lives. https://t.co/mMlWPFz9nB pic.twitter.com/RwH4p7yPy2— Mark Lehman (@MarkLehman6) June 24, 2021
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said a $200,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of Wallace, who should be considered armed and dangerous.
Authorities said it is believed that Wallace is driving a gray 2016 Honda HR-V with the California license plate number 7TNX532. Anyone with information is asked to the department’s Emergency Operations Center at 386-671-5555.
Check back for updates.
News 6 examined policing practices in Central Florida and those who are pushing for reform with the goal of reducing violent encounters as part of the pilot episode of our news digital newscast, Solutionaries.
The episode included Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young’s thoughts on implicit bias, de-escalation techniques and more. You can hear his take and watch the episode in its entirety here.