The Florida cop who has been in critical condition after being shot in the head by a suspect late last month is now “speaking and opening his eyes,” a Florida congressman has revealed – although he is now facing criticism from the officer’s chief for disclosing that information.
Rep. Mike Waltz, R-FLa., says he learned about Daytona Beach Police officer Jason Raynor’s condition after speaking with his chief. Othal Wallace, who is accused of shooting Raynor in the head during a traffic stop on June 23, was indicted Thursday on an attempted murder charge.
“His mother felt comfortable leaving the hospital for the first time in weeks,” Waltz wrote in a tweet providing an update on Raynor’s status. “Nothing short of a miracle!”
However, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young is criticizing Waltz Friday for revealing the information.
“If I or @DaytonaBchPD intended to give an update on Officer Raynor’s status we would have done so ourselves! @michaelgwaltz had NO RIGHT to tweet this!” Young posted on Twitter. “I apologize to the Raynor family for this egregious violation of their trust. This is nothing more than politics at its best.”
Waltz later offered his “sincerest apologies to the Raynor family” and Daytona Beach police.
“I was excited at the prospect of good news for Officer Raynor and did not intend to share info that wasn’t meant to be released. Continuing to pray for a speedy recovery,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet.
When Fox News contacted Daytona Beach Police Friday asking about Raynor’s condition, a department spokesperson said, “In reference to a post by Rep. Mike Waltz, It is not our practice to confirm someone else’s Tweet/Statement” and “the Chief has no additional comment.”
Raynor’s bodycam recorded the shooting, and the video shows Wallace getting out of a driver’s seat when the officer approaches and refusing when Raynor asks him to sit back down.
After a brief exchange, the two begin fighting, and Raynor can be heard yelling, “Stop! Stop, man!” before a gunshot. The officer had been hospitalized in critical condition ever since.
At the time of his arrest, Wallace was allegedly holed up in a treehouse stocked with firearms on land owned by the “Not F—ing Around Coalition,” according to authorities.
The group, also known as NFAC, has been involved in at least one violent clash before. A member accidentally shot and wounded three associates during an armed rally in Louisville, Ky., in July 2020.
A now-removed Facebook page belonging to the militia and allegedly run by Wallace contained violent anti-police rhetoric and Black power messages.
He has a lengthy criminal record, including arrests for assault and battery.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.
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