The search for a man accused of shooting an officer in the head Wednesday night in Daytona Beach is over and the suspect is in custody, according to police.
In a Facebook message posted early Saturday, Daytona Beach police said, “Othal Wallace has been captured.”
Police later said at a news conference that Wallace was found in a treehouse on a property outside Atlanta, where he had multiple flash-bang grenades, rifle plates, body armor, two rifles, two handguns and several boxes of ammunition.
“The property is affiliated with an organization called the... They call themselves the Not F-ing Around Coalition, which is simply known as the NFAC, which is a Black nationalist paramilitary organization,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said.
Following the announcement of Wallace’s arrest, the NFAC released a statement saying the group was “just as shocked and surprised as the public to hear this news.”
“NFAC owns no property. Our inquiry into this has revealed that this property is owned by another ex-NFAC member who allowed the local NFAC chapter to train there months ago. We have zero knowledge of the current use by the owner. They are not NFAC members, nor is this property affiliated with this organization,” a spokesperson said, adding Wallace is a current member of the NBPP.
News 6 confirmed Wallace was a member of NFAC, although the group’s leadership said they terminated his membership in January 2021.
Federal agents and local law enforcement officers had been searching for Wallace, 29, since about 9 p.m. Wednesday when authorities say he fled the Kingston Avenue area after shooting officer Jason Raynor.
Young said that Daytona Beach police had a member assigned to a U.S. Marsal’s task force who was present for the arrest along with three other Daytona Beach officers. Those officers placed Wallace in Raynor’s handcuffs during his arrest, the police chief said.
Three other people were found on the property where Wallace was arrested, according to Young, but he could not provide details on whether they will face charges or what they might be. Investigators said there was also a large arsenal of weapons found in the main residence on the property.
Following his arrest Wallace said, “You guys know who I am. You know what I’m capable of. It could have been a lot worse,” according to Young.
The police chief also offered an update on Raynor’s condition.
“There were very positive signs of improvement. He still has a ways to go but basically from his position right now, they (doctors) feel comfortable moving forward with more testing because they’ve determined that he’s now strong enough to endure more testing. So as of right now, his outlook is improving,” he said.
Raynor was rushed to the hospital following the shooting, where he underwent surgery and has been in critical condition since.
The chief said he called Raynor’s family Saturday morning to tell them about the arrest.
“I woke them up to tell them the news, so you can, as you can imagine there was a huge sigh of relief,” he said. “I’m hoping they can get a few hours of sleep and now just solely focus on officer Raynor and his recovery.”
Young said not long after the shooting Wednesday night that hundreds of officers had been aiding in the manhunt and the efforts would continue until Wallace was taken into custody.
“The biggest challenge for me (was) just making sure that all of our officers, and everybody involved in this investigation, just remain vigilant and just kept yourself safe because we deal with a lot and at some point, everybody has to go home to their family and our families worried about us,” Young said.
Following the shooting, Volusia County was put on lockdown for about three hours as search efforts got underway.
“This entire county is on lockdown until we track this coward down. So I’m grateful for every agency that’s responded over here tonight to help us as they’re committed to staying out here until we get this coward in custody,” Young said Wednesday night.
Parts of Interstate 95 and Interstate 4 were also shut down temporarily during the search.
Video from Raynor’s body camera showed him approaching Wallace as he sat behind the wheel of a gray Honda. Things escalated when Wallace stood up out of the car and refused to sit back down despite the officer’s repeated requests, the footage shows.
“Come on, now, come on, now. Don’t do this,” Wallace said as Raynor tried to get him to sit back down, according to the recording.
The two then got into some sort of scuffle before a single shot is heard.
Police said Raynor had stopped responding to calls on the radio and when additional units arrived in the area, they found him lying on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.
Young said Raynor is 26 years old and has been with the department for three years. Prior to that, he worked for the Port Orange Police Department.
“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.
The officer has since undergone surgery, which Young categorized as “fairly successful” and remains in critical condition. Young added early Saturday that Raynor’s condition continues to improve.
“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.
Wallace had been traveling in the same gray 2016 Honda HR-V with the California license plate number 7TNX532 as seen in the video.
Young said Wednesday night that technology detected him near Deltona and then by Thursday morning, his department said the search had expanded to include areas outside of Florida.
A $200,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest.
Watch the full news briefing on the arrest below:
Check back for more updates on this developing story.