Florida police officer shot in head; manhunt underway for ‘coward’ suspect

Volusia County Florida was in lockdown after a 26-year-old police officer was shot in the head while on duty in Daytona Beach.

The officer was found wounded after he stopped responding to his radio while investigating a suspicious incident, according to WKMG-TV of Orlando. 

Newly released bodycam footage shows the encounter. The officer approached what appears to be a gray Honda HRV and asks pleasantly, “How’s it going? Do you live here?”

The suspect rises from the car and the officer asks him to sit back down. The suspect, visibly irritated, said “Come on man, don’t do this. What’s going on, why are you asking me if I live here?”

CONTENT WARNING


(Video: via WKMG)

The suspect tells the officer to back up and the officer can be heard responding with “Stop, stop, stop” before he was shot.  

The young officer was reportedly rushed to Halifax Health Medical Center where he underwent surgery.

The alleged suspect was identified by law enforcement as Othal Wallace, 29, and police consider him “armed & dangerous,” the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department reported in a release. 

Police officers responded to the scene and reportedly found at the complex “three ballistic vests, multiple high capacity magazines, a firearm, a rifle, a semi-automatic handgun and boxes of rifle rounds,” WESH-TV reported.

Daytona Police Chief Jakari Young addressed the incident during a press conference Wednesday night where he called the suspect a “coward”. 

He reported that more than 500 officers responded and are working to “track this coward down.” Volusia County remained under lockdown for a few hours as the search was underway. U.S. marshals joined the manhunt according to law enforcement on Thursday morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol shut down Sections of I-95 and I-4 to search for the suspect.

“This officer is 26 years old. 26 years old. Behind me (in the hospital). Fighting for his life. Most of us are just starting to live at 26 years old. This particular cop, knowing him, if he were to pull through this, this cop would do everything in his power to get back on the job and continue serving the community. He would do so with zero hatred or malice in his heart,” Young said of the critically wounded officer.

A $100,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to the suspect’s arrest. Those in the area are advised to be on the lookout for a gray 2016 Honda HRV bearing CA tag 7TNX532. 

Daytona Police Chief Jakari Young tweeted today that “there was no change in the status of my hero,” and remained confident police will track down the suspect.


The officer was reportedly seeing some improvement as Thursday morning developed, following surgery according to Fox 35 Orlando.

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