Orlando police officer Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was shot and killed outside of a Walmart, NY Daily News reports. The suspect, Markeith Loyd, 41, escaped, leading to a manhunt, during which a motorcycle deputy was hit and killed by a car.
“Debra Clayton is a hero, and she gave her life protect the community she loves,” Police Chief John Mina said.
Loyd is also wanted for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend in December. He remains at large, with a $60,000 reward being offered for help finding him.
“He will be brought to justice,” Mina said Monday. “The community can be sure of that.”
Witnesses said he was wearing a security vest at the time of the shooting.
“(The shooter) was an average-looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything,” witness James Herman said. “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.”
Clayton is survived by her husband and two children.
Derrick McRae, an Orlando pastor, went to elementary and middle schools with Clayton. He said Clayton was calm, quiet, and a good listener.
“You’re too nice to be a police officer,” McRae told Clayton when she became a cop.
“I’m going to make a change,” she told him.
Loyd wrote on Facebook in late November: “Goals!!!! To be on Americas most wanted.”
He has a lengthy criminal past, including charges of murder, weapons possession, aggravated battery, trespassing and drug possession.
(image via Orange County Sheriff)