Daytona Beach police holds vigil to honor fallen officer 1 year since his death

Officer Jason Raynor died on Aug. 17, 2021

The Daytona Beach Police Department held a public vigil Wednesday night, marking one year since one of its officers died after being shot in the line of duty.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona Beach Police Department held a public vigil Wednesday night, marking one year since one of its officers died after being shot in the line of duty.

Officer Jason Raynor, 26, was shot in the head on June 23, 2021, when investigating a suspicious vehicle.

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Raynor, who had been with the Daytona Beach Police Department for about three years, was rushed to Halifax Health in critical condition before succumbing to his injuries nearly two months later on Aug. 17.

He was laid to rest on Aug. 23 in a tribute that took place across Volusia County.

The suspected shooter, Othal Wallace, was arrested after a multi-state manhunt 56 hours after the shooting and will now stand trial for the crime in April 2023.

The Daytona Beach Police Department recently honored Raynor on June 23 of this year, marking one year since the shooting. The department said its officers would be wearing a badge to honor Raynor from that date until Wednesday’s vigil.

As family and friends mourned Raynor at the vigil, Chief Jakari Young gave a speech about honoring the fallen officer.

“One year ago, we mourned,” Young said during the vigil. “Today, we remember. One year, ago we were broken. Tonight, we are stronger.”

Raynor had held on for 56 days after he had been shot before succumbing to his injury.

Ashley LeBlanc, a friend of Raynor’s sister, told News 6 it was difficult watching as Raynor fought to live.

“I will never forget the phone call I got,” she said. “It was a little after 5 o’clock a year ago today, and I heard Jayson had passed.”

Friends and family said that as they continue to heal, they’ll hold onto the memories they have of Raynor and remain “Raynor Strong.”

“He was one of the sweetest people ever. He gave his heart and soul with everything that he had,” LeBlanc said. “He loved his job. You know, if he could come back and do it all over again, 1000%, he would.”

Raynor’s family released the following statement one year after his death:

We have mourned what has been the most tragic loss of our lives. Every second of every day feels like groundhogs day. With each day that passes, our feelings remain the same. Our brother, and son, was taken from us by someone who had motive from the start. Violence and hate was the motivator. In 29 seconds, someone made a decision that put Jason to endure 55 days of pain and suffering until he was called home. We promise that Jason’s name will never be forgotten and we will continue to fight for him. Thank you to the community for your continued strength, prayers and love towards our family. We feel that regardless of the trial, one ultimately has to face their creator, who knows the truth.

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