An Orlando, Florida, police officer was fatally shot in the line of duty Monday morning and the suspect — who was already wanted for the killing of his pregnant girlfriend in December — is still at large, authorities announced.
Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was shot in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart on Princeton Street in Orlando, Police Chief John Mina said at a Monday morning news conference. She died at 7:40 a.m., he said.
The suspect, Markeith Loyd, had been sought in the fatal shooting of his pregnant girlfriend, Mina said, adding that according to preliminary information, Clayton recognized Loyd before her fatal shooting. She was reportedly trying to detain him.
A manhunt for Loyd is ongoing and “he should be considered armed and dangerous,” Mina said.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at the news conference that authorities “have been very aggressively looking for Markeith Loyd for the past couple of weeks” in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Sade Dixon, on Dec. 13.
Demings suspects that Loyd is “receiving help from someone, and we’re calling upon sensible individuals to help us bring him to justice on this day.”
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Clayton, whose family could not immediately be reached, worked weekend day-shift patrol and she “will be missed beyond words,” the Orlando Police Department wrote in a tweet. “She always had a smile/high five 4 every kid she came across.”
According to Mina, Clayton is married and has a son who is in college. He described her as “a hero, and she gave her life protecting the community she loved, and she will be deeply missed.”
Deputy Killed in Crash While Assisting Manhunt: Report
An Orange County sheriff’s deputy was killed in a vehicle crash while assisting with law enforcement following the shooting, Sheriff Demings said Monday.
Demings said a motorist turned in front of Lewis’ vehicle, causing the collision. The motorist had a green light and “was not traveling at an inordinate rate of speed,” Demings said.
Lewis died in the hospital from his injuries, Demings said.
Lewis, a former University of Central Florida football player, was honored by the team in a tweet Monday afternoon: “Gone way too soon while answering the call to protect and serve this great community … Rest easy, Big Norm.”
(Lewis’ family could not immediately be reached.)
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After Clayton’s fatal shooting, Loyd allegedly fired at another law enforcement officer while fleeing, Demings said Monday.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has declared an official day of mourning, according a tweet from the Orlando police.
Some area schools were on lockdown, Demings said.
Police have asked anyone with information on Loyd to call 1-800-423-TIPS.