ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 10 (UPI) — Orlando police have offered a $60,000 reward for information that could lead to the arrest of a suspect in the killing of one of their officers.
Markeith Loyd, 41, wanted for the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, shot and killed Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, 42, on Monday at dawn as she approached him near a Wal-Mart.
“It doesn’t matter where he goes. We will track him down to the end of the earth,” Orlando Police Chief John W. Mina said Monday at a news conference.
“We are going to bring this dirtbag to justice, and he’s going to jail,” Mina said.
Mina said Loyd could have someone helping him hide.
Authorities mainly had focused on an apartment complex in northwest Orlando. Loyd pulled into the complex and fired at a deputy but the bullet missed him and instead hit his unmarked SUV.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said several families were removed from their homes because of the manhunt.
“We’re searching the whole area,” he said.
Two of Demings’ deputies were involved in motorcycle crashes during the search Monday. Deputy Norman Lewis, 35, an 11-year Sheriff’s Office veteran and former football player at the University of Central Florida, died 2 1/2 hours after the shooting when his motorcycle was struck by a van making a left turn.
“To lose two law enforcement officers on this Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is indeed a tragedy,” Demings said. “It’s a reminder that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every single day to protect all of us.”
Clayton is the first Orlando officer killed in the line of duty since 2007.
Law enforcement had been looking for Loyd since they say he killed his pregnant 24-year-old ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, on Dec. 13 and wounded her 26-year-old brother, Ronald Steward, at an Orange County home on Long Peak Drive.
Clayton was in her uniform, including department-issued body armor, when someone told her around 7:15 a.m. that Loyd was in the area, Mina said. She called in for backup and approached Loyd, who was wearing a shirt that said “security” on it.