DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz, who represents Florida’s 6th congressional district, apologized Friday for relaying information about the potential condition of a Daytona Beach police officer who was shot in the head last month.
Waltz tweeted late Thursday that Officer Jason Raynor, who was shot in late June while checking a suspicious vehicle, had opened his eyes and was talking.
“Nothing short of a miracle,” Waltz said in the tweet, which came hours after Daytona Beach police had said no further updates on Raynor’s condition would be released out of respect to his family.
Spoke to the Daytona Beach Police Chief and he says Officer Raynor is speaking and opening his eyes. His mother felt comfortable leaving the hospital for the first time in weeks. Nothing short of a miracle! https://t.co/iCSEjhs4ba— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) July 9, 2021
Waltz’s tweet sparked a harsh rebuke from Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young, who would not confirm nor deny any information about Raynor’s condition.
“If I or @DaytonaBchPD intended to give an update on Officer Raynor’s status we would have done so ourselves!” Young tweeted. “@michaelgwaltz had NO RIGHT to tweet this! I apologize to the Raynor family for this egregious violation of their trust. This is nothing more than politics at its best.”
Waltz responded with his apology.
“My sincerest apologies to the Raynor family and @DaytonaBchPD,” he said. “I was excited at the prospect of good news for Officer Raynor and did not intend to share info that wasn’t meant to be released. Continuing to pray for a speedy recovery.”
My sincerest apologies to the Raynor family and @DaytonaBchPD. I was excited at the prospect of good news for Officer Raynor and did not intend to share info that wasn’t meant to be released. Continuing to pray for a speedy recovery. https://t.co/6Dj6Ce7VGL— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) July 9, 2021
Raynor has been listed in critical condition since the shooting.
Young said during a briefing weeks ago that Raynor was showing “positive signs” of improvement. Young added that Raynor “still has a ways to go,” but doctors were comfortable moving forward with more testing now that he was “strong enough.”
The shooting prompted a 56-hour manhunt, leading to the arrest of Othal Wallace, who was found hiding in a treehouse in Georgia, police said.
Wallace was extradited back to Florida, where he’s jailed in Volusia County on a charge of attempted first-degree murder.