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What's the Blue Alert? why was it activated in Florida?

A Blue Alert has been activated in the Daytona Beach area, what should residents know, and what caused the message to be sent? Our team took a look.

What's the Blue Alert? why was it activated in Florida?
SPENCER PLATT AFP

Blue Alerts, similar to Amber and Silver alerts which inform the public when a child or senior has gone missing, send a notification to people in a specific geographic area when a violent criminal is evading police.

According to the National Blue Alert Foundation, Inc. the organization tasked with overseeing these public messages say the alerts help “speed the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously injure local, state, or federal law enforcement officers.” As of 19 June 2019, thirty-six states have implemented systems that allow the sending of these types of alerts.

Why was an alert sent to Florida residents?

Residents of Daytona Beach may have been alarmed when they received a Blue Alert this morning saying that a “BLUE Alert has been issued for Othal Wallace, last seen in the area of the 100 block of Kingston Avenue in Daytona Beach, Florida, wearing a yellow shirt and dark beanie.” The suspect allegedly shot Officer Jason Raynor and was able to escape before officers could identify and make an arrest.

Since the shooting, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young held a press conference where he informed the public that the officer remains in critical condition at Halifax Health Medical Center. Chief Young also said that he would like the media to respect the privacy of the family and that he would be sending his prayers. He continued his comments saying that Officer Raynor is the type of cop that “would do everything in his power to get back on the job and continue serving the community. He would do so with zero hatred or malice in his heart.” 

According to NBC’s WESH 2, parts of the freeway in the surrounding area including a section of I-95 and I-4, were closed to aid “the search for the suspect but has since been reopened, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.” However, a lockdown in nearby Volusia County has been expanded.

The police are offering a reward of $100,000 to any individual able to provide credible information that leads to the arrest of Mr. Wallace. The Blue Alert warns residents to call law enforcement in the event of a citing and to not approach the suspect.