Manhunt For Gunman Who Killed 17 Year Police Veteran In Orlando

Orlando Man Who Previously Killed His Pregnant Girlfriend Shot And Killed Veteran Police Officer Outside Of Walmart And Is Currently On The Run.

A huge manhunt is underway in Orlando for the gunman who shot dead a 17-year veteran police officer in the line of duty near a Walmart, as she was trying to apprehend the man who is suspected of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Orlando Police Department Master Sgt. Debra Thomas Clayton, 42, died of her injuries suffered in the shooting that happened at the Pine Hills Walmart store early Monday morning, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said during a press conference.

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screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-9-27-35-pm‘Debra Clayton is a hero, and she gave her life to protect the community she loves,’ Mina said. ‘She will be deeply missed.’

He added that she was one of the first officers to respond to the Pulse nightclub massacre on June 12.

The shooting happened just after 7:15am, as police say Clayton had been shopping in the store and was outside putting bags in the trunk of her car when someone told her that Markeith Loyd, a suspect wanted in connection with the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, may have been inside the store.

The 17-year veteran was heading back into the store alone and had radioed in at 7:17am ‘to say that she was attempting to contact a murder suspect,’ Mina said.

She told the suspect to ‘stop’, but he immediately fired multiple shots at her before fleeing the scene, authorities said.

3c004a2800000578-4102352-image-a-21_1483995014397At 7:19am, officers radioed in to say she had been shot and the first responding officers on scene began CPR on Clayton. She was pronounced dead at 7:40am at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

While trying to flee, Loyd fired at another deputy in a SUV, who was not injured. Loyd then carjacked a vehicle before getting out of the vehicle and running off, police said.

Officials said Loyd was spotted at the intersection of North Lane and Pine Hills Drive by a deputy who followed him to a nearby apartment complex.

Loyd, 41, is considered to be armed and dangerous and police are asking anyone who knows his whereabouts to please call 1-800-423-TIPS.

3bfef80600000578-4102352-image-m-23_1483975696802Authorities appear to be searching for him at an apartment complex near Cinderlane Parkway and Orange Blossom Trail.

Orlando police announced Monday afternoon that a reward of up to $60,000 is being offered for information leading to Loyd’s arrest.

‘We’re going to bring this dirt-bag to justice, and he’s going to jail,’ Mina said of Loyd at the press conference. ‘The community can be sure of that.’

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings announced during the same press conference more tragic news, as another law enforcement officer died.

Demings said that the deputy was hit by a car while on his patrol motorcycle as he was working a perimeter in search for the suspected gunman.

Authorities did not release the deputy’s name, pending notification of his family members.

3bffbfda00000578-4102352-image-a-77_1483984256106Ten minutes after that fatal crash involving the Orange County deputy, about 200 yards away OPD Officer Robert Castro was involved in a crash that sent him to the hospital with minor injuries, Mina said.

‘The Orlando Police Department family is heartbroken today. One of our own was taken in the line of duty. There are no words,’ the Orlando Police Department tweeted along with a video showing the Clayton’s flag-draped casket being put into a vehicle, as fellow officer saluted outside of the hospital.

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

James Herman, a witness to the shooting, told WFTV that the gunman was wearing a security uniform and fired at least 12 times at Clayton.

‘(The shooter) was an average-looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything, Herman said.

3bffb52000000578-4102352-image-a-73_1483984181647‘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.’

Thirteen schools were locked down during the daytime due to the search of the suspect; but that is no longer in affect.

Aerial footage from WKMG shows several officers swarming the area, as some were spotted carrying assault rifles.

Loyd is also wanted in connection with the shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, WFTV reported.

3bfed65d00000578-4102352-image-m-32_1483976998654Sade Dixon, a 24-year-old pregnant mother-of-two, was shot to death outside of her home on December 13.

Authorities say Loyd, a convicted felon who has been arrested in Orange County 20 times since 1994, has been on the run since her death.

Dixon’s brother, Ronald Steward, 26, was also shot and critically injured in the incident, as he was trying to help her, police said.

Loyd has served 10 years in prison and five years probation for conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, according to federal court records.

Back in 1999 he was sentenced to prison and was released from probation in 2014.

A November post on his Facebook page says: ‘Goals!!!! To be on Americas most wanted’.

By Regina F. Graham For

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