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A manhunt for a suspect was underway in Florida on Wednesday night after a police officer was shot in the head while on duty, according to reports.
The wounded Daytona Beach officer was rushed into surgery in critical condition, reports said.
Police searched for the suspect, identified as Othal Wallace, 29, who was considered “armed & dangerous,” the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department said in a release.
The officer was found on the ground with a gunshot wound after he’d stopped responding to his radio while investigating a suspicious incident in the area, WKMG-TV of Orlando reported.
Daytona Police Chief Jakari Young called the suspect a “coward” in a late-night press briefing and said the suspect shot at the officer after he started speaking with him.
“At some point, the suspect turns and shoots my officer one time in the head,” Young told reporters. He said the officer is in “grave” condition.
He added that more than 500 officers have responded and the county is on lockdown until we “track this coward down.”
“No change in the status of my hero who was shot in the line of duty last night,” Young tweeted in an update early Thursday. “He’s fighting while all of us are praying. The manhunt continues for the coward responsible for this…..”
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Footage from the officer’s body camera released by authorities showed the officer approach the suspect who was sitting in his car, asking him if he lives near where was parked. The officer asks the suspect to sit back in the car as he starts to get out.
“Come on man, don’t do this. Why are you asking me if I live here?” the suspect asks. The suspect struggles with the officer who can be heard shouting, “Stop! Stop, man!” before a shot rings out.
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“Please keep the @DaytonaBchPDofficer and family in your prayers,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood tweeted along with a photo of the suspect driving away in a Honda HRV.
A $100,000 reward was being offered for information leading to Wallace’s capture and parts of Interstates 4 and 95 were shut down to prevent his escape, according to WKMG.
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The wounded officer has not been identified.