As Hunt Continues for Cop Killer, Orlando Mourns

Master Sgt. Debra Clayton (l) and Markeith Loyd. Orlando Police Dept.

More than 24 hours after the slaying of an Orlando, Fla., police officer allegedly by a man suspected in a murder last month, authorities are frantically searching for the suspect. Meanwhile the city itself remains in shock over a killing that took away a mother from her two children.

Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, 42, was killed outside the Wal-Mart store in northwest Orlando early Monday. She was in the store about 7:15 a.m. when she found out Markeith Loyd was in the store and pursued him. The two exchanged gunfire and Clayton was fatally struck.

“He should be considered armed and dangerous,” Police Chief John Mina said. Later in the day, the chief said, “It doesn’t matter where he is. We will track him down to the ends of the Earth.”

About two hours after the shooting, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Deputy 1st Class Norman Lewis was killed in a crash while responding to the manhunt.

Authorities said Loyd previously was a suspect in the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend in December. A massive manhunt involving hundreds of officers was conducted all day Monday as they searched for Loyd in dozens of homes, displacing some residents of a northwest Orlando apartment complex and tying up traffic.

A $60,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Loyd’s capture, officials said. Orlando police posted Loyd’s picture on social media, asking the public to “please continue to be vigilant and help us bring this killer to justice.”

As the hunt for Loyd continued shoppers laid more than two dozen bouquets of flowers, teddy bears and candles in a makeshift memorial. Some shoppers, like Hal Shore, stopped to say a prayer or take a photo.

“It’s important that the country is aware that there is a war against police officers,” said Shore, a cabinet maker.

A GoFundMe page with a goal of $10,000 was set up for Clayton’s family. By 11 a.m. Tuesday, the fund had surpassed its goal, raising more than $11,000.

With AP.


 Image: Master Sgt. Debra Clayton (l) and Markeith Loyd. Orlando Police Dept.