DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A year has passed since the Daytona Beach Police Department lost one of their own who was shot in the line of duty.
Investigators say officer Jason Raynor was patrolling an apartment complex when he was shot in June of 2021. He fought for his life for 55 days before passing away.
Community members gathered at police headquarters Wednesday night for a vigil honoring Raynor’s life.
The theme: “Lighting up the darkness,” and healing some of the wounds time alone can’t fix.
The ceremony began with a memorial call and flashing lights from Raynor’s brothers and sisters in the department at exactly the time of his death.
Raynor was just 26 years old when he was attacked.
The theme of light continued throughout the evening as Raynor’s family, friends, and members of the community lit candles while listening to a mashup of his favorite music.
Even as the wind tried to blow out the lights, the crowd fought just as Raynor did, lighting flashlights instead.
“One year ago we were broken. Tonight, we are stronger,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said during the ceremony. “One year ago, we met Jason’s family under these tragic circumstances. Tonight, the Raynor family is our family.”
Raynor’s family didn’t make any speeches Wednesday evening. Instead, they released a statement ahead of the vigil saying, in part, “Every second of every day feels like groundhogs day. With each day that passes, our feelings remain the same...We promise that Jason’s name will never be forgotten and we will continue to fight for him.”
Raynor’s accused killer, Othal Wallace is scheduled to stand trial in next year in a case that could result in the death penalty.
A trial date has been tentatively set for early April, 2023.
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