Massive manhunt continues in Orlando after police officer killed
Suspect is also wanted by police in the slaying of his pregnant ex-girlfriend
A massive manhunt continues in the popular tourist destination of Orlando, Fla., as police officers and deputies search for a man accused of shooting and killing a police officer.
The Orlando Police Department announced the death of 42-year-old Master Sgt. Debra Clayton on its Twitter account Monday morning.
Authorities later said a second law enforcement officer, Norman Lewis, was killed in a motorcycle accident while searching for the suspect in Clayton's killing.
He will be brought to justice.— John Mina, Orlando police chief
The shooting happened near a Walmart store in Orlando earlier Monday after someone recognized the man.
"[Clayton] attempted to make contact and she was shot and killed," police Chief John Mina said at a news conference.
The suspect has been identified as 41-year-old Markeith Loyd. Authorities said Loyd is also a suspect in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend in December.
Markeith Loyd is the suspect who shot OPD officer this morning. Anyone w/info please call 1-800-423-TIPS <a href="https://twitter.com/CrimelineFL">@CrimelineFL</a> <a href="https://t.co/TeABsCsTh4">pic.twitter.com/TeABsCsTh4</a>—@OrlandoPolice
Authorities were offering a $60,000 US reward for any information leading to Loyd's arrest. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said deputies had been searching unsuccessfully for Loyd for several weeks and believe he was receiving help from someone — and that he still might be.
"He should be considered armed and dangerous," Mina said. At a later news conference, Mina said he was hoping Loyd might turn himself in.
"We want Markeith Loyd arrested and behind bars."
Officer hailed as a 'hero'
Mina lauded Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the force, as a committed officer and "a hero" who gave her life to a community she loved.
"She grew up here ... she was trying to do her part to make this community safer."
"She made a point, even outside her working hours, to do things for youth and do things for the community," said Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon. Clayton was wearing a bulletproof vest when the shooting happened, Mina said.
THIS is how we know and remember Sergeant Debra Clayton. She always had a smile for kids and always took a moment to interact w/community. <a href="https://t.co/8zL46iyUe6">pic.twitter.com/8zL46iyUe6</a>—@OrlandoPolice
Clayton was married and had one son, not two, as initially reported. She died Monday morning, less than an hour after she was shot while on duty.
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.
Authorities said 17 area schools were placed in lockdown following the shooting.
Officers and deputies have been focusing their manhunt on an apartment complex in northwest Orlando, and dozens of residences have been searched.
The apartment complex and shooting in northwest Orlando was nowhere near Orlando's tourism corridor in the southern part of the metro area.
"There will be a large law enforcement presence in that area until we can determine he is not there," Mina said.
'I'm heartbroken and angry'
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared a day of mourning in the city.
Sheriff's officials said Loyd was spotted by a deputy fleeing in the Orlando police officer's 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.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott cancelled an appearance in Orlando because of the shooting but appeared with local officials at the news conference. "I'm heartbroken and angry," Scott said.
With files from CBC News