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Search launched after Orlando police officer shot, killed

Murder suspect Markeith Loyd now wanted in fatal shooting of OPD officer

Master Sergeant Debra Clayton was killed in the line of duty on Monday, January 9, 2016.
Master Sergeant Debra Clayton was killed in the line of duty on Monday, January 9, 2016. (OPD)

ORLANDO, Fla. – A man wanted in connection with the slaying of his pregnant ex-girlfriend is being sought in connection with the Monday shooting death of an Orlando police officer, WKMG reports.

[WATCH LIVE: News 6 team coverage | Sky 6 over shooting scene at top of story]

A massive manhunt is underway in Orlando for Markeith Loyd, 41, who was spotted Monday morning fleeing in a vehicle from the Walmart near Princeton Avenue near John Young Parkway, where the Orlando officer was shot, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said. 

Orlando police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, a wife, mother of two and 17-year veteran, died in the shooting, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.

"She will be deeply missed," Mina said.

"I'm declaring (Monday) an official day of mourning," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

Monday is the official Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

An Orange County deputy saw Loyd at North Lane and Pine Hills Drive, and Loyd pulled into a nearby apartment complex and opened fired at the deputy, striking his unmarked SUV twice, officials said. The deputy was not injured.

Loyd then carjacked a vehicle and took off, deputies said. He later abandoned the vehicle near the intersection of Rosemont and Cinderlane Parkway, where a manhunt is underway, officials said.

Authorities said Loyd should be considered armed and dangerous.

"We are asking the public to assist us with his whereabouts," the Sheriff's Office said. "However, we ask the public not to approach him and call 911 instead."

Clayton was taken to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. 

 

"Just spoke to @ChiefJohnMina and am praying for @OrlandoPolice," Gov. Rick Scott tweeted. "I let him know the state stands ready to help in any way."

Investigators placed evidence markers in the Walmart parking lot, but details about the shooting have not been released.

Several law enforcement officers swarmed the area, and Orlando police said motorists should avoid driving to Pine Hills and Rosemont. Numerous officers were spotted carrying assault rifles at several intersections in the area.

Seventeen Orange County Public Schools are locked down because of the search.

The schools on lockdown are:

  • Gateway School
  • Evans High School
  • Pine Hills Elementary School
  • Meadowbrook Middle School
  • Positive Pathways
  • Orange Center
  • Rolling Hills Elementary School
  • Lockhart Middle School
  • Lockhart Elementary School
  • Acceleration Academy West
  • Esteem Academy
  • Orange Virtual School
  • Lake Silver Elementary School
  • Oak Hill Elementary School
  • Rosemont Elementary School
  • Robinswood Middle School
  • Pinewood Elementary School

OCPS said all students and staff are safe.

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Clayton is the second U.S. officer killed in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial website.

Last year, 140 officers, including six women, were killed in the line of duty in the United States. Five were from Florida agencies, and 65 were killed by gunfire, the site said.

Law enforcement agencies and officials in Central Florida sent condolences to the Orlando Police Department after the shooting.

"I join Orlando & my @OrlandoPolice family in mourning the violent death of one of our own. COURAGE.PRIDE.COMMITMENT," tweeted U.S. Rep. Val Demings, the former Orlando police chief.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with are brothers and sisters at OPD," Kissimmee police tweeted.

"Our prayers are with @OrlandoPolice, Officer shot. Follow @OrlandoPolice for full and accurate updates," Lakeland police tweeted. 

"The Lake County Sheriff's Office would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters at Orlando Police Department," LCSO tweeted.

"Prayers for @OrlandoPolice as they deal with an officer who has been shot and another officer on a motorcycle involved in a crash," Edgewood police tweeted.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters in blue at the Orlando Police Dept. #ODP #orlando," Oviedo police tweeted.

"We are praying for the @OrlandoPolice officer shot this morning. We support you through this tragedy and senseless act of violence," Sanford police tweeted.

"Keeping our friends at @OrlandoPolice in our thoughts and hearts (Monday) morning," UCF police tweeted.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Orlando PD right now. We wish to offer our condonlences to the department," the Sumter County Sheriff's Office tweeted. 

"Thoughts and prayers for the Orlando Police Department Officers and their families," Titusville police tweeted.

"We stand with you at this most difficult time @OrlandoPolice @ChiefJohnMina @orange Our prayers are with you and your respective departments," West Melbourne police tweeted.

"Our hearts go out to the @OrlandoPolice Officer killed in the line of duty this morning. Godspeed," Edgewood police tweeted.

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