VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The 7th District State Attorney’s Office said it would be seeking the death penalty against the man accused of shooting a Daytona Beach police officer in June following the officer’s death 55 days after he was shot in the line of duty.
The state attorney’s office said investigators with the Daytona Beach Police Department along with their office served an arrest warrant for Othal Wallace, 29, on an upgraded murder charge after Office Jason Raynor, 26, passed away Tuesday from his injuries sustained in the shooting.
Wallace previously faced a charge of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Officer Jason Raynor, the Daytona Beach Police Department, and all our brothers and sisters in law enforcement today,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a release. “And we will proceed with our solemn mission to hold Officer Jason Raynor’s murderer accountable. Justice equals accountability and justice demands the death penalty.”
Raynor, who had been with the Daytona Beach Police Department for about three years, was rushed to Halifax Health in grave condition after he was shot in the head. He had remained in critical condition following his surgery until Tuesday when officials said he died as the result of his injuries.
Following the shooting, Volusia County was put on lockdown for about three hours as search efforts got underway after Wallace fled the scene. Multiple agencies searched for Wallace after the shooting, including the FBI. The Daytona Beach Police Department said Raynor was investigating a suspicious vehicle when he stopped responding, prompting other officers to respond to the area.
After a 56-hour manhunt, Wallace was captured in a Georgia treehouse.
“Jason’s sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said.
Wallace appeared in court Wednesday afternoon before a judge on the upgraded first-degree murder charge. He previously pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer.
Wallace agreed to be represented by a public defender and will remain jailed. The judge did not set the next court date for Wallace.