Early Monday, an Orlando police officer was shot and killed during an encounter with a murder suspect.
According to a live CNN report, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office responded after an emergency call was placed about a suspicious vehicle. Master Sergeant Debra Clayton died when Markeith Loyd, 43, reportedly shot and killed her at a local Walmart store onPrinceton Street just west of John Young Parkway.
Orlando Police Officer killed this morning IDed as Master Sergeant Debra Clayton
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 9, 2017
James Herman is listed as a witness to the fatal encounter in the store’s parking lot. He described the moment Sgt. Clayton and Loyd met, and shots were fired. Herman said the man fled and continued shooting.
“He walked by me, had a security vest and everything. 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.”
Loyd is a suspect in an unrelated murder of a pregnant woman. Florida law enforcement officials have been searching for him for weeks. A large-scale manhunt is underway to apprehend the man who is considered “armed and dangerous.”
Orlando, Florida, police officer killed in line of duty identified as Master Sgt. Debra Clayton. https://t.co/8UzFB4FbRy
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 9, 2017
The OPD released a tweet of condolences about the fatal shooting of the Orlando police officer. A picture was attached that showed a flag-draped coffin.
“The Orlando Police Department family is heartbroken today. One of our own was taken in the line of duty. There are no words.”
Sheriff Jerry Demings said he knew the fallen female officer; he hired her when he was chief of the Orlando Police Department. He also lost one of his officers in the line of duty. Apparently, the young deputy responding to the shooting of the sergeant was struck and killed by a motorist.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Loyd was the subject of an arrest warrant stemming from his alleged shooting and killing in December of his 24-year-old pregnant girlfriend, Sade Dixon. The woman’s brother, 26-year-old brother, Ronald Steward, was also injured in the shooting.
Officers said Loyd went to the home on Peake Drive and knocked. When Dixon answered the door, he opened fire, striking her fatally. The brother was taken to a local hospital and listed in critical condition. Police say at least five others were inside the residence at the time of the shooting — including two children, 5 and 7 — but were uninjured.
Sources say the suspected shooter has a long rap sheet spanning over a decade. He is said to have have spent 10 years in a federal jail and five years on probation for drug-related charges.
After the fatal shooting of the police officer, over a dozen Orlando-area schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution. Florida Governor Rick Scott was on schedule to attend a jobs event with KPMG in the city, but nixed his plans after receiving word of the deadly incident.
The responding deputy who died in a vehicular accident has not yet been identified, pending notification of his family members.
In the latest developments, the Sentinel reported about a heavy police presence at a location where the suspect is to believed to be holed up.
“Shortly before noon, about four hours after the shooting, a SWAT team was at an apartment complex off Cinderlane Parkway with rifles out while a law enforcement helicopter circled overhead.
“An officer on a bullhorn called the suspect by name and told him to come out.”
[Featured Image by Orlando Police Department/AP Images]