Law enforcement authorities are continuing a massive manhunt for Markeith Loyd, 41, who is the prime suspect in the murder of Orlando Police Master Sergeant Debra Clayton. Loyd is considered “armed and dangerous” The shooting death happened outside of a Walmart in the Pine Hills area. Loyd had been evading local law enforcement for nearly a month after he was implicated in the shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, who was shot to death outside her home and Loyd has been on the run since Dec. 13th.
Since yesterday’s tragic shooting, which happened on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, many leads are coming in to law enforcement. Both Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orlando Police Chief John Mina remain determined to bring Loyd to justice. There is currently a $60,000 reward for information leading to Loyd.
“It is with a heavy heart that I share this morning we lost Sergeant Debra Clayton in the line of duty,” Chief Mina said. “She heroically fought for her life and unfortunately passed away at 7:40 a.m. [Monday] morning. Sergeant Clayton served the Orlando Police Department for over 17 years. We will get through this together. Courage, Pride and Commitment. At this time we ask everyone to please pray for Sergeant Clayton’s family during this very difficult time.”
“This is indeed a sad day in the City of Orlando,” Mayor Buddy Dyer added. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Master Sargent Debra Clayton. She was a brave, 17-year member of the Orlando Police Department, and her loss will be felt throughout the department and the entire City of Orlando. More importantly she will be missed as a mother, wife, daughter and sister. I share my condolences and prayers with her family and I know the entire City and this community will support the family in any way that we can.”
Unfortunately, senior Orange County Sheriff’s Office motorcycle Deputy Norm Lewis also died in a crash while searching for Loyd in the aftermath of the shooting. Norman Lewis was an 11-year veteran with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Lewis’ supervisors and colleagues were “heartbroken” over the news.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the two Orlando-area police officers killed in the line of duty today. The brave men and women who serve in our nation’s law enforcement community put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for their service and we join them as they mourn the loss of their colleagues,” said Senator Bill Nelson.
Master Sergeant Debra Clayton was shot and killed when she encountered a wanted murder suspect in the parking lot of a Walmart at the intersection of Princeton Street and John Young Parkway.
The subject was wanted for murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend and for shooting her new boyfriend three months prior. After shooting Sergeant Clayton, the man carjacked a vehicle and fled the scene. A captain from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office spotted the vehicle moments later and was shot at as he got behind it. The suspect continued to flee and remains at large.
During the ensuing search Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, was killed in a motorcycle crash at the intersection of Pine Hills Road and Balboa Drive when another vehicle turned in front of his motorcycle.
Sergeant Clayton had served with the Orlando Police Department for 17 years. She is survived by her husband and two children.