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Truckers gathered outside a Florida hospital on Tuesday evening to show their support for a Daytona Beach Police officer still recovering, a week after being shot in the head by a man who was eventually apprehended at a Black nationalist paramilitary encampment in Georgia.
The so-called community vigil involved tow truckers from across central Florida and took place outside the Halifax Health Medical Center, where 26-year-old officer Jason Raynor remains hospitalized in critical condition.
“We just need the family to know that we are here. The community backs them,” Amanda Balboa, of Arrow Service and Towing, told WESH during the vigil. “We’ve got to let them know we’re here for them.”
A large American flag was hoisted over an entryway, as a crowd of people in the parking lot bowed their heads in prayer for Raynor. They later hopped into their rigs to do a lap around the hospital, wailing on their horns and cheering to let the officer inside feel their presence.
Raynor’s family watched the vigil below from a hospital window, the police chaplain said. Organizers also collected donations for the family. Speaking at the event, the chaplain quoted scripture, saying, “What the devil meant for evil, God used for good.”
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young told reporters Raynor was “fighting for his life” immediately following the June 23 shooting. His condition has since improved enough to endure testing at the hospital, Young said Monday, according to WKMG, but the officer has a long road to recovery.
Raynor was shot just before 9 p.m. as he approached a vehicle while responding to a report of a “suspicious incident.” Bodycam footage shows he asked the driver if he lived in the area when a brief struggle ensued. He was shot seconds later.
Following a 56-hour manhunt, Othal Toreyane Resheen Wallace, 29, was located in a treehouse on the three-acre property during the execution of a search warrant in DeKalb County, Georgia. The property is owned by militant group NFAC (Not F—ing Around Coalition) and houses a “Black nationalist paramilitary encampment,” according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
During a brief court hearing in George on Tuesday, Wallace, charged with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm, waived his right to a formal extradition hearing, clearing the way for him to be brought back to Florida – though it’s unclear when that will occur, according to Fox 32 Orlando.
FBI Jacksonville is aiding Daytona Beach Police in the next steps of the investigation.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page set up to support Raynor’s family during his recovery garnered more than $305,800 by Wednesday. Over the weekend, many people came together in Daytona Beach to run lemonade stands and other fundraisers to raise money for the family, WKMG reported
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