DeKalb County, GA – The gunman who shot a Daytona Beach police officer in the head on Wednesday was captured early Saturday morning and arrested with the handcuffs of the young officer he shot.
“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 29-year-old Othal 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 shot 26-year-old Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Raynor in the head just before 9 p.m. on June 23 when the officer responded to a report of a suspicious incident at 133 Kingston Avenue.
The officer checked out at the scene over his radio, but stopped responding to other units shortly thereafter, WJAX reported.
Additional officers raced to the scene and found the officer lying on the pavement with a gunshot wound to his head.
DBPD said Officer Raynor was rushed to Halifax Health Medical Center and taken into surgery.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said on Thursday that Wallace was likely going to try to kill any law enforcement officer he encountered, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
“I think this was going to happen. In my opinion any cop that stopped him was going to get it, he was going to try to kill,” Sheriff Chitwood told reporters at a press conference on Thursday. “This poor kid [the officer] just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The sheriff said that investigators believed they had identified Wallace’s Facebook page under the name “O-Zone Wallace,” the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
The page showed Wallace had connections with the NFAC Black Militia, the New Black Panther Party, and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club Alabama Chapter.
Black Militia NFAC member Othal Wallace shot a police officer in the head. pic.twitter.com/jguuqhrc9E
— Z La Luna (@LauraLaLuna1) June 24, 2021
News2Share Founder Ford Fischer posted that he had filmed Wallace marching with the black militia in Louisville in 2020.
A manhunt is taking place in Daytona Beach after police say Othal “O-Zone” Wallace shot a cop, leaving them in critical condition.
I filmed Wallace march with the Black Nationalist NFAC Militia September 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky.
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) June 24, 2021
“We know that there are black militias just like white militias. There’s no difference, extremism is extremism, black, white, brown, yellow,” Sheriff Chitwood said.
Court records showed Wallace’s criminal history included incidences of domestic violence, including a case in which he was accused of having used a gun to threaten a woman, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Online records showed he served time in the Volusia County jail but has never been to prison in Florida.
Chief Young said the three-day, multistate manhunt was bolstered by a $200,000 reward for information leading to Wallace’s arrest that brought in lot of tips, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported.
But he said that timing, surveillance, and technology ultimately got the credit for the capture of the violent fugitive and nobody qualified for the reward.
The police chief said that Daytona Beach police officers on a U.S. Marshals Task Force arrested the gunman with Officer Raynor’s handcuffs in DeKalb County in the early hours of June 26, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
He said that there were four people on the property where Wallace was found, but he didn’t say if they were confirmed members of NFAC.
Chief Young said three of those people had been arrested but said he didn’t know what charges they would face.
The police chief said the NFAC property had two structures and a trailer on it, in addition to the treehouse where Wallace was found, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
He said police had recovered a large arsenal of weapons inside the main house on the property, but that it wasn’t yet known if officers had recovered the gun Wallace used to shoot Officer Raynor.
Chief Young thanked the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office for working side by side with Daytona Beach police to track down the would-be cop killer, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Volusia County deputies also took over patrol in Daytona Beach so that officers could participate in the manhunt and offer support to Officer Raynor’s family at the hospital.
“We covered the city to allow the officers that breathing space to deal with the tragedy,” Sheriff Chitwood said.
Detectives from the sheriff’s department assisted Daytona Beach police detectives in investigating what threats officers might face from the militia, but the sheriff was clear that the effort had involved a lot more police agencies than had gotten credit for their efforts, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
“To watch all those police cars coming not only from Volusia County but from Seminole County, Orange County, Flagler County, Brevard County, from Central Florida, FHP, Fish and Wildlife, ATF, FBI,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “To watch all those people, all those resources come pouring in on that first night, we had three helicopters besides our own. It was sad, but it also made you feel, so proud that all these people are rallying around a fallen officer, a wounded officer, and we are going to do everything we can to get this guy to justice.”
Chief Young said doctors remained hopeful that Officer Raynor’s condition could improve, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
“There were very positive signs of improvement,” he said. “He still has a ways to go. But basically from his condition right now they feel comfortable moving forward with more testing because they’ve determined that he’s now strong enough to endure more testing.”
“As of right now his outlook, it is improving. It’s a positive one. But we are just going to continue to pray that he continues to heal,” he added.
A GoFundMe set up to assist the officer’s family with expenses had raised more than $200,000 by Saturday afternoon.