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A Florida police officer was shot in the head while escorting a man out of a car — sparking a frantic manhunt and putting an entire county on lockdown, authorities said.
The 26-year-old officer, who was not immediately identified, was shot late Wednesday in Daytona Beach while conducting a “proactive patrol,” where he encountered Othal Wallace, 29, sitting in a 2016 Honda with California tags.
“As he was escorting him out of the car, at some point the suspect turns and shoots my officer one time in the head,” Daytona Beach police Chief Jakari Young told reporters. “This entire county is on lockdown until we track this coward down.”
A 29-second clip from the officer’s bodycam shows him approaching Wallace while the suspect is sitting in a gray Honda sedan in a parking lot.
“How’s it going?” the officers asks. “Do you live here?”
Wallace stands up, but the cop tells him to sit down, which he refuses, the clip shows.
“Sir, come on now, come on now, don’t do this,” Wallace replies. “Why you asking me if I live here? What’s going on though?”
A struggle ensues and a gunshot can be heard as the wounded officer falls to the ground. The cop was rushed to a hospital in grave condition, Young said late Wednesday.
His condition was later described as critical following surgery, police said in a statement.
Some 500 police officers responded to the area following the shooting to track down Wallace, who remained on the run early Thursday.
A $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his capture, department officials said.
US Marshals are also involved in the search for Wallace, who is believed to be a local man and may be in the Deltona area, Young said. The city is the largest in Volusia County, which is the where the pursuit of Wallace is focused.
“It’s a full-out manhunt,” Young said late Wednesday.
Wallace may be traveling in a gray 2016 Honda HR-V with a California tag of 7TNX532. Anyone with info on his whereabouts should call 911 or submit tips through Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at (888) 277-TIPS.
A message seeking comment from a Daytona Beach police spokesman was not immediately returned early Thursday.
Police in Atlanta are also searching for Wallace, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. He should be be considered armed and dangerous, authorities said.
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