DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A Daytona Beach police officer was shot in the head Wednesday night while investigating a suspicious vehicle, prompting a multi-agency manhunt for the shooter, police said.
By mid-morning Wednesday, the search had expanded to another state, but authorities would not provide details about where they were looking for 29-year-old Othal Wallace.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said a $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of 29-year-old Othal Wallace. He’s considered armed and dangerous and is believed to be driving a gray 2016 Honda HR-V bearing California license plate number 7TNX532, officials said.
Several roads were closed in the area as hundreds of officers from multiple Central Florida agencies searched for the man accused of shooting a Daytona officer overnight.
Thursday afternoon, Daytone Beach Police Chief Jakari Young released officer Jason Raynor’s name during a news conference Thursday evening. Previously, Raynor’s name had been withheld out of respect for his family.
He does not have a wife or children but his mother has been by his side at the hospital. News4Jax is not showing pictures of Raynor at his family’s request.
Police said Raynor was investigating the suspicious vehicle in his patrol area around 8:50 p.m. Wednesday near Kingston Avenue when things quickly took a turn.
Police have released body cam video of the incident which shows Wallace standing up and getting out of his car as the officer repeatedly tells him to sit back down. The two then struggle before a shot is heard and the officer falls to the ground.
WARNING: Facebook video below includes graphic content
The police chief said the officer is 26 years old and has been on the force for three years.
Raynor remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery at Halifax Hospital. He was showing some improvement but has a long way to go, the police chief said.
“The surgery was fairly successful. He still has a long way to go,” Young said. “I am extremely heartbroken, especially because this particular cop, knowing him if he pulls through, he will do everything in his power to get back on the job and continue serving the citizens of this community.”
The chief said he had more than 500 officers respond to the area and the county was temporarily on lockdown. U.S. Marshals have also joined the manhunt for Wallace.
Three agencies had helicopters in the air assisting for the search, including the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
No change in the status of my hero who was shot in the line of duty last night. He’s fighting while all of us are praying 🙏🏾 The manhunt continues for the coward responsible for this.....— Chief Jakari Young (@ChiefJakari) June 24, 2021
The chief of police said hours after the shooting, a search warrant was executed where Wallace’s family lives, and investigators found three ballistic vests, multiple high capacity magazines, a firearm, a rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, and boxes of rounds.
This is just the latest in a series of recent shootings involving law enforcement in Volusia County. Earlier this month, two foster children were involved in a shootout with deputies. A 14-year-old girl was shot and survived. No deputies were hurt.
And two weeks ago, investigators say a man ambushed deputies in DeBarry. He was shot and survived but no deputies were hurt.