ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – The manhunt continues for a wanted fugitive suspected of killing Orlando police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton outside a Wal-Mart store early Monday.
Markeith Loyd, 41, 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.
“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.”
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said deputies had been searching unsuccessfully for Loyd for several weeks since the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend and believe he was receiving help from someone.
Mina lauded Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the force as a committed officer and a hero who gave her life to the community she loves. The Orlando Police Department said in a tweet that Clayton always had a smile and a high five for every child she came across.
Clayton, 42, had grown up in the Orlando area and was active in programs that mentored young people.
“She was always the first to step up and help kids,” Mina said.
Clayton was a supervisor for a patrol division in the neighborhood where she was shot, and she previously had worked in investigations and as a school resource officer, Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon said.
“She made a point, even outside her working hours, to do things for youth and do things for the community,” Rolon said.
She was married and had a college-aged son.
Police released a video of Clayton’s body being taken out of the hospital to a waiting van in a flag-covered stretcher. A line of officers saluted as the stretcher was wheeled out.
The apartment complex that was the focus of the manhunt and shooting in northwest Orlando was nowhere near Orlando’s tourism corridor in the southern part of the metro area.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared a day of mourning in the city.
While at the Wal-Mart on Monday morning, Clayton was tipped off by someone that Loyd was in the area. When she approached him, he fired multiple shots at Clayton, who was wearing body armor, Mina said.
Clayton returned fire but didn’t hit him, he said.
Sheriff’s officials said a deputy spotted Loyd fleeing in a 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.
Clayton wasn’t the only death Monday. Orange County Sheriff’s Office Deputy First Class Norman Lewis was killed in a crash while responding to a manhunt.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Lewid was killed more than two hours after the shooting when a van collided with his motorcycle. Demings described the 35-year-old Lewis as “a gentle giant,” and the sheriff’s office said he had played football for the University of Central Florida before joining the agency 11 years ago.
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