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Manhunt Underway for Man Who Shot Veteran Cop

A 41-year-old man accused of fatally shooting an Orlando police master sergeant remains at large.

Master Sgt. Debra Clayton died Monday morning after Markeith Loyd allegedly shot her three times outside a Pine Hills, Fla. Walmart and fled, officials said. Clayton was a 17-year veteran of the department and the mother of two.

Sheriff’s officials said Loyd was spotted by a deputy fleeing in the Orlando police officer’s vehicle. The suspect pulled into a nearby apartment complex and then fired at a deputy, striking the deputy’s SUV twice. The deputy wasn’t harmed, the sheriff’s office said. Loyd then carjacked another vehicle, drove away and then abandoned the vehicle not far away, according to the sheriff’s office.

“We’re going to bring this dirtbag to justice and he’s going to jail,” Orlando police Chief John Mina said.

“[The shooter] was an average-looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything,” witness James Herman told WFTV. “I was walking down the sidewalk, right past the officer, and I heard her tell him to stop, or whatever, and he shot her. He shot her down. He took off running. It’s unreal.”

Herman said the man continued to shoot behind him as he ran from the scene. Sgt. Clayton had been shopping in the store and was putting bags in her vehicle’s trunk when she was approached by another shopper, Herman said.

“The customer walked up to her and said that someone they were looking for, wanted, was in the store in the line to check out,” he said. “She went in there, I guess, to confront him. As she was going back to Walmart, he was coming out, and he shot her.”

A short time later, an Orange County motorcycle deputy was killed in a crash while the frantic search for the suspect moved forward. Authorities have not identified that individual pending notification of the family.

“We have a lot of police resources trying to catch the suspect,” Mina said. “Local, state and federal authorities are all working together diligently to bring him to justice, and he will be brought to justice, I can assure the community of that.”

Authorities are offering a $60,000 reward for information leading to Loyd’s arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).