Officer fatally shot; manhunt underway
An Orlando police officer described as a “hero” was shot and killed early Monday morning, prompting a manhunt for a suspect already wanted on charges he fatally shot his pregnant ex- girlfriend last month, authorities reported. Hours later, another officer was killed in an unrelated traffic crash as a search got underway for the Orlando officer’s suspected killer, authorities said.
Orlando police identified the officer shot as Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, a mother of two and a 17- year veteran of the Orlando Police Department.
“She gave her life protecting the community she loved. She will be deeply missed,” said Orlando Police Chief John Mina in an emotional news conference broadcast nationally. “We have a lot of resources trying to catch this suspect. He will be brought to justice.”
Police are searching for Markeith Loyd, 41, who was spotted Monday morning in Orlando fleeing in a vehicle from a Walmart where the Orlando officer was shot, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said. A reward of up to $ 60,000 is being offered for information leading to his arrest.
Loyd was already being sought in connection with the shooting death of 24- year- old Sade Dixon, a mother of two, at her west Orange County home in December. Her brother also was shot and wounded in that incident, according to media reports.
Clayton’s death came as the nation marked the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Across central Florida, tributes poured in on social media for Clayton and the Orange County sheriff’s deputy who was killed in the traffic accident. The deputy was not identified. Investigators in that case were working to contact his relatives.
Police have not detailed the circumstances leading up to Clayton’s shooting death. However, they said that earlier, an unidentified deputy saw Loyd in a vehicle. Loyd pulled into a nearby apartment complex and shot at the deputy, striking his unmarked SUV twice, officials said, according to WKMG- TV. The deputy was not injured.
Officer Debra Clayton, a 17- year veteran of the Orlando Police Department, was shot and killed Monday morning. A manhunt for Markeith Loyd is underway.