Hundreds Pay Respects to Fallen Florida Police Officer

Aug. 23, 2021
Former and current law enforcement officers from several agencies turned out to mourn Daytona Beach Officer Jason Raynor, who was shot on patrol in June and died nearly two months later.

DAYTONA BEACH — Hundreds of former and current law enforcement officers from several agencies visited the News-Journal Center on Sunday to pay their final respects at a viewing for slain Daytona Beach Officer Jason Raynor.

The media were not allowed into the facility, but from a distance were able to view the procession of law enforcement into the viewing. Daytona Beach Police spokesman Messod Bendayan said Raynor's coffin, draped with the American flag, was on a stage in the Davidson Theatre Auditorium. The center is operated by Daytona State College.

"There are lots of flowers and a slide-show of the officer's life was on as people walked by," Bendayan said.

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The event was not open to the public. Only law enforcement officers and their spouses or significant others, former law enforcement officers and civilian employees of all law enforcement agencies were allowed to visit, Bendayan said. Raynor's family members also attended.

The night of June 23

Raynor was shot shortly after 9 p.m. on June 23 during a night patrol of the Daytona Beach neighborhood surrounding Kingston Avenue. He was working the neighborhood because of citizen complaints to police about crime.

Raynor's body camera video shows him approaching Othal Wallace, who was sitting on the driver's side of a car in the back of the apartment complex at 133 Kingston Ave.

Raynor asked Wallace to remain seated, but after a few seconds, Wallace stood up. The body camera video then became shaky and ended.

Wallace was captured days later in a treehouse in a rural area outside of Atlanta, Georgia. He is charged with first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, and prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty when Wallace goes to trial.

Fallen officer viewings never get easier

On Sunday, two Daytona Beach fire engines with raised ladders held a large American flag over Beach Street in front of the News-Journal Center in downtown Daytona Beach.

Members of the Port Orange Police Department, where Raynor served as a policeman before joining the Daytona Beach department in 2019, also attended the viewing, said Port Orange police spokesman Officer Andre Bernard Fleming.

Members of the Volusia County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard were also present.

"In the 34 years I've been in law enforcement, it never gets easier going to a viewing of a fallen fellow officer," said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood as he left the viewing Sunday. "This was a young man who had his whole life and career ahead of him. And in a blink of an eye it was taken from him."

Also visible were patrol cars from the Baker County Sheriff's Office located more than 200 miles away in Florida's Panhandle. Members of the Chicago Police Department also attended the viewing.

Bendayan said the Daytona Beach Police Department has received calls from police agencies from all over the country inquiring about Raynor's viewing and funeral. The funeral ceremony will be held Monday beginning at 11 a.m. at the Ocean Center. The public is not invited to attend, but the expectation is that hundreds of law enforcement officers will be there.

'An unnecessary death'

Also present at the viewing on Sunday were deputies from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard.

David Jimenez, 59, who came to the viewing, said Raynor's death impacted him and his family.

"It was an unnecessary death," Jimenez said in Spanish of Raynor's shooting. "He was a young man with a lot of life ahead of him."

Jimenez said he has two daughters and they depend on police officers when they need protection. Jimenez said Raynor's death is a sad event, but he died a true hero and his memory will never die.

"People like him don't die, they turn into angels," Jimenez said. "He will now be standing guard over his mother and his sisters."

Some motorists driving by the viewing honked their horns to show their support.

A parade of Jeeps flying American flags, and motorcycles that included retired police officers, also paraded in the parking lot of the News-Journal Center.

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