Daytona Beach, FL – The family of a Daytona Beach police officer who died nearly two months after a gunman shot him in the head while he was responding to a call has filed a $5 million lawsuit against his accused killer.
Daytona Beach Officer Jason Raynor, 26, was responding to a report of a suspicious incident at 133 Kingston Avenue on June 23 when a gunman shot him in the head just before 9 p.m., the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Additional officers raced to the scene and found the officer lying on the pavement with a gunshot wound to his head.
They rushed Officer Raynor to Halifax Health Medical Center and he was immediately taken into surgery.
He succumbed to his wounds on Aug. 17 at 8:09 p.m. while surrounded by his family, the Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) said in a statement.
Please pray for Officer Jason Raynor of @DaytonaBchPDwas.
He remains in critical condition after he was shot in the line of duty by a racially motivated violent extremist. pic.twitter.com/9HEsuSQtIw
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 26, 2021
After a large-scale manhunt that expanded into multiple states, the alleged gunman, 29-year-old Othal Wallace, was found on property belonging to a black paramilitary group in Georgia and taken into custody.
“Othal Wallace was located hiding in a tree house,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young told reporters at a press conference at 5 a.m. on June 26. “In the tree house with Wallace was multiple flash bangs, rifle plates, body armor, two rifles, two handguns, and several boxes of ammunition.”
Chief Young said the tree house where Wallace was located was on a three-acre property that belonged to the Not F—king Around Coalition (NFAC), a black nationalist paramilitary organization, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Wallace was formally indicted on a first-degree murder charge on Sept. 1, WKMG reported.
State attorney RJ Larizza announced the same day that the state has found new evidence against the accused killer, to include a match of the murder weapon.
Wallace faces the death penalty if he is convicted.
Officer Raynor’s family is suing Wallace for wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery, WFLA reported.
The lawsuit, filed three days after Officer Raynor succumbed to his wounds, seeks $5 million in damages, according to WKMG.
Wallace has already filed paperwork advising the court he has five dependents and no financial resources, WFTV reported.
He qualifies for representation through the public defender’s office due to his lack of income, although Officer Raynor’s family could go after his online defense fund, according to the news outlet.
“I am aware there is some fund available that has been set up for maybe the criminal defense,” said Geoff Bichler, the attorney representing Officer Raynor’s family. “We are going to proceed on the civil side and see where that takes us.”
The defense fund has allegedly raised over $47,000 so far, WFTV reported.
Bichler’s law firm, Bichler & Longo, specializes in representing first responders, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
He said he believes this case is the first time an officer who was shot or the estate of an officer who was shot filed a lawsuit against the suspect who allegedly shot them.
“I’m not really aware of any cases of that nature and that’s why I think this is an important case to bring,” Bichler told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “In the event the individual ever came into money, it would certainly be appropriate to reimburse the estate and make this individual pay for this malicious attack.”
“We feel that there should be some recognition of this as we are struggling with this national climate of police reform,” he added. “That’s part of the reason we want to bring this lawsuit: just to raise awareness of what law enforcement face out there on the street protecting communities.”