Florida police continue search for suspect who shot officer in the head, offer $100K reward

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The search continued Friday for the person who shot a police officer in the head this week, leaving him in critical condition and "fighting for his life."

Police offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who can help authorities locate the suspect, identified as Othal Wallace, 29. The injured officer, Jason Raynor, 26, was out of surgery on Thursday, according to a statement from the Daytona Beach Police Department.

"The surgery was fairly successful," Young said Thursday at a news conference. "He still has a long way to go."

Raynor is "fighting for his life," said Young, who later described him as a resilient man with “a heart of gold.”

“I can tell you if he pulls through this, this cop would do everything in his power to return to full duty, and he will continue serving this community without an ounce of malice or hate in his heart for what happened to him because that’s just the type of person that he is,” Young said.

Othal Wallace
Othal Wallace

Raynor served with the Port Orange Police Department for three years prior to joining the Daytona Beach Police Department in February 2019, officials said.

A GoFundMe account to support Raynor, established Friday, raised over $50,000 from over 700 donors within the first few hours. The fundraiser has a goal of $100,000.

The officer was conducting a "proactive patrol" just before 9 p.m. Wednesday, Young said. The officer had radioed he was investigating a suspicious incident, according to a tweet from the police department.

"Upon arrival, he contacted a coward ... and as he was escorting him out of the car, at some point, the suspect turns and shoots my officer one time in the head," Young said.

Video of the shooting released by the Daytona Beach Police Department shows an officer approach a vehicle, asking the man inside if he lives in the area.

The man gets out and asks, "What's going on?" as the officer instructs him to sit back down. The man asks the officer to back up before the footage becomes shaky and a gunshot is heard.

Several minutes passed, and the officer didn't respond to other officers calling him on the radio. When officers arrived, they found him lying on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound, according to a police statement. He was taken to a hospital.

Police are looking for a gray 2016 Honda HRV with California tag 7TNX532.
Police are looking for a gray 2016 Honda HRV with California tag 7TNX532.

The suspect fled the scene after the shooting, police said in a tweet, asking the public to be on the lookout for a gray 2016 Honda HRV with a California tag.

A search of a nearby apartment, where police believed the suspect was, revealed a cache of weaponry, including at least three ballistic vests, multiple high-capacity magazines, a rifle and a semiautomatic handgun, Young said.

Although the suspect has served time in jail, he has not been sent to any Florida prison, according to online records. Wallace's criminal record includes previous incidents of domestic battery and one incident in which he was accused of wielding a gun to threaten a woman.

A "Blue Alert" was pushed out to phones across the state Thursday afternoon as the search stretched into its 16th hour.

The alert provides information to the public when a law enforcement officer is killed, seriously hurt or missing and the suspect is at large, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

More than 500 officers from various agencies responded to help find Wallace, Young said.

"I'm grateful for every agency that has responded over here tonight to help us because they are committed to staying out here until we have this coward in custody," Young said.

Contributing: Christine Fernando and Edward Segarra, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Daytona Beach police officer critical after shooting; search continues