Authorities are now offering a $100,000 reward for anyone who helps to capture the man suspected of shooting and killing Orlando police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton. Orlando police spokeswoman Wanda Miglio said Wednesday morning that investigators were still looking for Markeith Loyd, but declined to give any other further update or details.
Master Sgt. Clayton was one of the first officers to respond to the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in June that left 49 people dead and more than 50 injured. Orlando Police Chief John Mina called Clayton, a mother of two, a hero.
“We are going to bring this dirtbag to justice, and he’s going to jail,” Chief Mina said.
Loyd, 41, was accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend Sade Dixon in December and a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The FBI, Homeland Security, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and U.S. Marshals Service are all involved in the effort along with local agencies to find Loyd.
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.
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. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) sent out an alert midday, describing him as 6-3, 230 pounds and having last been seen on Cinderlane Parkway.
Loyd has a long wrap sheet and extensive criminal history. On Nov. 30, he wrote on his Facebook page, “Goals!!!! To be on Americas most wanted.”
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 in a crash with a 78-year-old driver during the manhunt effort to capture the suspect. Worth noting, Monday was and still is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.