Daytona Beach – A wave of emotions and tears overcame Terry Tamat on Tuesday as he read several notes of condolence, appreciation and gratitude on Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Raynor’s patrol car.
In front of the marked police car, which is now adorned with flowers, teddy bears and a cross, a woman named Dale Hayes let out a loud and sad sigh.
“Oh! Oh my God,” prayed Hayes.
Raynor’s patrol car has become a sentimental memorial to the fallen police officer. It currently stands at Daytona Beach Police Headquarters at 129 Velor Blvd.
Later this week, Raynor’s patrol car will be deployed near Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway during the Coke Zero Sugar 400 race, Police Chief Zakari Young said.
“They want to put it somewhere in the area of Victory Lane in his honor,” Young said.
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‘So young, so brave’
All day Tuesday, Young said he watches from his office window as people stop dropping flowers, writing kind words or praying quietly.
“They just keep dropping flowers, signing his car. Some pray, like this woman, they pray,” Young said. “There’s a lady who came here, she played gospel music in her car and she got out and she just thanked God.”
Young said that all the outpouring of love and support for Raynor shows that there are still plenty of good people out there who are kind and supportive of law enforcement. The message left on the car by citizens and fellow police officers also shows that support.
“So small. So brave. You gave your all. Peace and love in God’s light. Rest brave one,” says a message written on the car by a woman named Kathy Dee.
Raynor, 26, was laid to rest on Monday with full honors at a funeral ceremony held at the Volusia County Ocean Center.
The officer was shot in the head on June 23 in the back of an apartment complex on Kingston Avenue where he was patrolling after the police department received complaints of criminal activity in the neighborhood.
At the apartment complex, Raynor finds Othal Wallace in the driver’s seat of a car with the door open. Raynor’s body camera shows that he told Wallace to get in the car, but after a few seconds of verbal back and forth, Wallace stood up and walked away from Raynor. The body camera then became unstable and expired.
Fellow officers found Raynor on the ground a few minutes later. According to the police, his gun was still sharp. Raynor lived for 55 days and died on 17 August.
Wallace is being held in Volusia County Branch Jail on advanced charges of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer. He was caught in a tree house outside Atlanta, Georgia, shortly after the shooting and could face the death penalty when he goes to trial.
‘He was such a gentleman’
Hayes said he looked at Raynor’s body camera video and said he was kind and courteous as he tried to speak with Wallace. Hayes said Raynor was not aggressive as he approached Wallace.
“I have seen and experienced aggressive police behavior, but this young man did not display that,” said an emotional Hayes. “I didn’t see anything like that in him. He was such a humble creature. He wasn’t showing any strength or… oh my god, this is just heartbreaking.”
Several tributes written on the car called Raynor a hero, thanking him for his service and saying that he is now an angel in heaven.
Tomat read a message from the Edwards family, which he said was his favorite.
“Officer Raynor, thank you for your service. Rest in heaven. Heaven has just found an angel. We love you,” the message said.
Tamat and her husband Tom moved from New York to Daytona Beach. She said that they have family members who are police officers. The husband and wife took time out of their day on Tuesday to visit the memorial and had a quiet moment by Raynor’s patrol car.
“He was someone’s son, he was someone’s brother. He was not just an officer,” Tomat said tearfully.
Tamat said that the mostly empty bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey sitting on top of the car also showed Raynor was human.
“It shows that he has another side, a human side, not just a profession,” Tamatat said.
Some of Raynor’s friends talked about her love for whiskey at her funeral service, Young said.
petrol car will stop
When the patrol car leaves the speedway after the weekend’s race, Young said it would be retired and taken out of service to honor Raynor.
“Nobody else will make it work,” Young said.
Young said the police department is helping officers deal with Raynor’s loss by providing staff with bereavement counselors.
“We are doing our best to make sure everyone knows they can ask for help if they are not doing well and we will do our best to find the resources that will help them cope with the loss. are needed to help,” Young said.
Young said he took the time to read all the messages on the car and it has been a “touching and moving” experience that has brought peace to him and his department.
“It strikes me very well that we have more supporters than opponents,” Young said. “It’s actually quite nice to me when I could watch from my office window all day that people come and they plant flowers and they write nice notes, and they’ve never met her but they know her story And they know what happened and it gives me some peace.”
Raynor’s colleagues also left notes thanking Raynor for doing their part in protecting and serving their community. Some of his messages stated that he would continue with the unfinished work he had suddenly left and that they “got his back” like he had theirs.
A woman named Angelia wrote, “I’ve got your “6” like you always had mine. Give heaven some hell.”
Young explained that in police parlance, “6” means “we’ve got your back.”
Another message from Sam read: “RIP HERO!! We got it from here. We got your six. Relax.”