ORLANDO, Fla.–A suspect wanted for the murder of an Orlando police officer is on the run after he shot a female cop three times outside a Walmart on Monday. The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Markeith Loyd, fled the scene on Princeton Street, located west of John Young Parkway.
Master Sgt. Debra Clayton’s heart stopped while paramedics were racing her to Orlando Regional Medical Center and, even though they were able to get it started again, she died shortly after. Worth noting, Monday was and still is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Loyd was accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend Sade Dixon in December, and a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina called Clayton, a mother of two, a hero.
Loyd was wearing a security uniform at the time of Monday’s shooting, a witness told WFTV.
“(The shooter) was an average looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything,” witness James Herman said. “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.”
Herman said a shopper had tipped off the unnamed officer — who was putting bags in the trunk of her vehicle — that Loyd was in the Walmart waiting to check out. As the officer walked towards the store, the suspect barged out and fired at least 12 shots, according to Herman. Three shots hit the officer.
Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office were called to the scene just after 7:15 a.m. in response to an “officer needs help.”
Shortly before 9:30 a.m. EST, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office reported that a murder suspect was on the loose and flooded the Pine Hills area, located a few miles west of Orlando. They said he had abandoned a stolen vehicle not far from the Walmart.
City Commissioner Regina I. Hill did not give a name, but simply identified the slain officer as her Orlando Police Department liaison.
“Oh God!!!! Please pray for my OPD Liaison, she’s been shot down in Pinehills.”
Officials locked down 13 schools in the area, including Evans High, Meadowbrook Middle, Lockhart Middle, Pine Hills Elementary, Rolling Hills Elementary and Lockhart Elementary. Gov. Rick Scott was scheduled to attend a jobs event this morning with KPMG in Orlando, but press aide Jackie Schutz said he has cancelled the event.
On Dec. 13, Loyd had gone to his girlfriend’s home on Long Peak Drive and began banging on the door. When Dixon answered, he shot her and her 26-year-old brother, Ronald Steward. He was critically wounded and five other people were home at the time of the shooting, including Dixon’s 5- and 7-year-old children.
Orange County Sheriff Deputy Jerry Demings said a motorcycle deputy was killed during the effort to capture the suspect.
“We’re sad on this day for many reasons,” Mino said at a morning news conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Video courtesy of the Orlando Police Department